July 30th’s Strikeforce showdown between two legends of the sport, Fedor Emelianenko and Dan Henderson is undoubtedly a big fight for both men, but could their job also be on the line?
If a new report from the FiveOuncesOfPain site is to be believed then the loser of this bout is likely to be given their marching orders from the promotion.
“According to multiple sources with knowledge of the situation, Five Ounces of Pain has confirmed one of the core components of the matchmaking process in regards to their headlining bout on July 30 was the ability to sever professional ties with the loser based on the amount each earns in comparison to their perceived market value, as contracts are generally structured to allow for immediate release in the event of defeat,” writes 50z’s Brendhan Conlan.
I must admit this was a story that surprised me a little. Not so much from the perspective of Fedor being cut if he lost – he is after all coming into this fight on the back of a two fight losing streak, and with the Russian himself having brought up the idea of retirement in recent times and appearing reluctant to change his stagnant training methods there are now doubts over how motivated he is to continue competing at the age of 34.
Another defeat would certainly diminish ‘The Last Emperor’s’ ability to draw big ratings as a headline star, and when you factor in his continued association with ‘M-1 Global’ who have been a thorn in both Strikeforce and the UFC’s sides over the years then you can quickly build a strong case for them being willing to cut him loose.
Henderson is another matter entirely however. Even at the age of 40 he still appears to have a strong desire to compete, and after a shaky start to his Strikeforce career he’s now picked up a head of steam with a KO and TKO win over Renato Sobral and Rafael Cavalcante respectively.
Over and above that he is now the Strikeforce light-heavyweight champion so it would be a very strange move if they opted to cut him while he still holds the belt just because he agreed to a ‘superfight’ in the heavyweight division.
There’s no doubt that Zuffa do question Henderson’s worth as a major draw however – hence the reason why he left the UFC in the first place, with Dana White claiming that ‘Hendo’s’ pay demands were unrealistic.
Strikeforce thought otherwise and have been paying him a hefty $250,000 per-fight, but the viewing figures appear to have proven the UFC somewhat correct with all three of Henderson’s headlining appearances via CBS and Showtime producing mediocre ratings at best.
Nevertheless, it will be an extremely controversial move if they are considering cutting Henderson should he not win.
Personally I have my doubts whether this will become a reality, but having watched another of their biggest stars, Alistair Overeem being pulled from the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand-Prix recently over a disagreement regarding the scheduling of his next fight, there’s no doubt that anything is possible.