Sherdog is reporting that Dallas Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban has expressed an interest in entering into a business relationship with Pride heavyweight champion Fedor Emelianenko.
The description of the relationship sounds as though Cuban is interested in obtaining promotional rights to Fedor. Cuban thus far does not have an ownership stake in an MMA promotion but MMA has been a mainstay on his cable network, HDNet.
In the past, HDNet has televised bouts from the WEC (prior to Zuffa acquiring the company) as well as the Art of War promotion in Dallas. The high definition cable channel is the current broadcast home of Richard Steele’s Steele Cage Promotions and the IFO.
Cuban indicated that under an agreement with Fedor, his promotional rights could be shared with multiple promotions or that Cuban could elect produce cards on his own that Fedor would appear on.
Forbes magazine reported Cuban’s net worth in 2007 to be $2.3 billion so he obviously has the capital needed to sign a star of Fedor’s magnitude. It’s uncertain if Cuban would promote one-off shows built around Fedor or if he has an interest in starting a full-time MMA promotion.
If Cuban were to start his own promotion he could potentially be a major threat to the UFC. If he were willing to earmark enough startup capital he could make a play for many high-profile fighters that are currently free agents. With his numerous media properties and resources, he’d have the distribution outlets needed to showcase their abilities.
Sherdog is promising an extensive interview with Cuban later this week.