When Alistair Overeem quickly defeated Brett Rogers and then immediately called out Fedor Emelianenko, doubts immediately began to arise over the likelihood of the Russian’s management team, M-1 Global, agreeing to such a contest.
According to M-1 Global executive Evgeni Kogan this morning in a conversation with MMAJunkie however, they are not opposed to the idea of the two heavyweight stars fighting.
“As we’ve mentioned in the past, Fedor fights whoever is put in front of him. If Overeem is presented by the Strikeforce matchmakers as Fedor’s next opponent, then that is who Fedor is going to fight.”
That’s good to hear, though it does appear to be a complete 180 degree turn from there previous comments on the subject of a fight with Overeem.
“I personally think that Alistair Overeem did not reach the desired level to challenge Fedor,” M-1 Global’s Vadim Finkelstein told tribuna.sports.ru back in March. “He beat a lot of no-name opponents in Mixed Martial Arts. Overeem defeated Paul Buentello and then disappeared from the United States for more than two years, which is simply ridiculous. He has nothing to offer for Fedor Emelianenko, except being a steroid bully.”
Those comments sent alarm bells ringing that M-1 Global, who have proven awkward to deal with in the past, might look to avoid fighting Overeem altogether. The fact that Overeem’s management have publicly called M-1 Global a “bunch of crooks” and inferred that they have mob ties has only added fuel to the fire and left Scott Coker with the unenviable task of trying to broker a deal to have the two men fight.
Kogan’s latest comments give at least some hope that a deal can be made though.
“I thought [Overeem] won in very impressive fashion,” Kogan said. “We respect Alistair as an opponent and think that this would be a great potential matchup.”
Of course he is keen to stress that Fedor still has to get past a tricky opponent in Fabricio Werdum first before they will consider his next fight.
“At this point Fedor is choosing not to look past Fabricio. He is in the most intense part of his training camp in Stary Oskol right now and would like for it to be known that he is focused 100 percent on Werdum.”
So the early indications are that all parties are in agreement that Fedor Vs Overeem is a fight that should happen. If Fedor does get past Werdum and a deal is agreed however, then the stage will be set for the biggest fight in Strikeforce history.
Given M-1 Global’s past reputation though, let’s just say I’m not popping open a bottle of champagne in celebration just yet.