Rumors that Fedor Emelianenko will not fight on Strikeforce’s April event have finally been confirmed today by his management team, M-1 Global.
Speaking ahead of an event in Eastern Europe, the company told TV100 that the proposed fight between Fedor and Fabricio Werdum will now take place in May instead.
Strikeforce have still not spoken out about the matter, and this latest development still leaves a lot of unanswered questions regarding their upcoming event.
For instance, will they still go ahead with their second appearance on CBS in April without Fedor?
It would strike me as a strange decision if the do. A lot of time and money went into promoting Fedor for the promotions first event on CBS, and it would seem counter-productive to exclude him from the next one if they want to build on their viewer ratings.
Would Dan Henderson Vs Jake Shields work as a main event on CBS instead?
It could be worse, but it’s worth remembering that though Henderson was well thought of in the UFC, he was not considered one of the UFC’s biggest draws, which is part of the reason why they allowed him to leave in the first place.
Meanwhile Jake Shields won the middleweight belt against Jason ‘Mayhem’ Miller on the last CBS card, but his performance did not go down well with casual fans, and was met with a chorus of boos in the arena. It’s hardly the ideal lead-in to a place on the main event.
Could the CBS card take place in May instead of April?
I’m not sure how flexible CBS will be with dates, but if it was possible then this would be the best solution that I can see. As well as ensuring Fedor is involved, this could also have the added benefit of allowing Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem to feature, as he has suggested he may finally be looking to return to the promotion in May after a long absence.
Ideally that would allow a title fight with Fedor to take place, though M-1 Global’s comments suggest that he is still going to face Werdum. If so it may open up the possibility of someone like Brett Rogers fighting Overeem for the title instead.
That would leave Hendo Vs Shields to headline the April event on Showtime, which would certainly work – though I doubt Henderson would be thrilled at the prospect. Part of his reason for signing with Strikeforce was the opportunity to have his fights broadcast to millions of people on CBS, not a few hundred thousand on Showtime.
What’s most remarkable about all this is that Strikeforce have still not spoken out on the matter. Can you imagine the media outcry if Dana White suddenly went AWOL under similar circumstances in the UFC?