During yesterday’s conference call, the UFC announced the signing of two prominent names in the Mixed Martial Arts business.
Unfortunately, neither was the named Fedor.
Negotiations with Fedor’s management and promotions company M-1 Global hit a major stumbling point in the area of co-promotion, leaving Dana White to all but declare the “Fedor to the UFC” situation done.
As a result, many have been left looking to assign blame. Instead of waxing philosophical about who to blame, my thoughts have wondered to the future and trying to answer the question, “Where does Fedor Go From Here?”
Accept this now, fight fans: A marriage between Fedor and the UFC is never going to happen, and a one night stand was never an option.
But with the collapse of Affliction, the MMA landscape has changed, leaving less options available to the consensus top heavyweight on the planet.
In terms of exposure and strength of competition, a move to Strikeforce certainly looks like the best destination out there, complete with the added bonus of giving Dana White and the UFC a symbolic middle finger by signing with their lone North American competitor.
Though not the deepest heavyweight roster in the business (we all know where that is, right?), Strikeforce would offer champion Alistair Overeem, Fabricio Werdum and Brett Rogers, the fighter Emelianenko’s camp apparently wanted most prior to the cancellation of Trilogy.
Additionally, I could certainly see Strikeforce adding Affliction refugee Paul Buentello to the mix as well, as it was “The Headhunter” who faced Overeem back in 2007 to decide the inaugural Heavyweight champion.
Furthermore, there are only two possible destinations for Bobby Lashley and I believe Strikeforce is the more likely of the two. Though focused on his fighting career, the former WWE superstar is also concerned with putting money in his pockets, leading to a return to the world of professional wrestling with TNA.
If the UFC isn’t willing to co-promote events in order to secure a deal with Fedor, there is no way in hell they are letting Bobby Lashley take steel chair shots from Sting during his downtime.
But who knows what kind of offer Strikeforce is willing to table to the Russian icon? There has been all kinds of speculation about what Scott Coker and company have put forward to Fedor and M-1 Global, but let’s not forget that four days ago some were reporting a deal with the UFC was all but wrapped up.
Of course, fighting in North America isn’t Emelianenko’s only option. After all, his ascension to god-like status in the business came from fighting in Japan during the glory days of Pride and there is no doubt that World Victory Road would be glad to welcome him back to the Land of the Rising Sun.
Interestingly enough, a November Sengoku event is where Zach Arnold of Fight Opinion is reporting we will see Josh Barnett return to action.
Apparently, World Victory Road is where fighters who test positive in North America go to resume their careers, as former EliteXC heavyweight champ Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva is expected to return to the ring at Sengoku 10th Battle in September.
A third possibility is a spot on the M-1 Global Presents Breakthrough card scheduled for the end of August in Los Angeles.
Currently headlined by Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal facing UFC veteran Don Frye, Emelianenko is a shareholder in the organization and would certainly heighten the profile of the event.
Seeing as Jeff Monson won’t be leaving the country any time soon, perhaps a call to the man who believes it’s his destiny to beat Fedor for a spot opposite “The Last Emperor” in the Main Event would be in order.
For what it’s worth, my money is on Fedor fighting on the M-1 card in August before deciding what to do next.
Regardless of the answer to the question at the heart of this piece, another question and one that is far more important arises:
Is Fedor’s legacy tarnished by not fighting in the UFC?
That’s another article for another day.
For now, I’ll wait to see where he ends up.
One last thing: for the record, I blame Fedor in all this.