By now we’ve all read the ESPN.com article that claimed Fedor Emelianenko is on the verge of severing ties with M-1 Global.
After talking to numerous people this past week, I’ve learned that is indeed the case.
I was somewhat skeptical when I first read the article because it was for ESPN the Magazine, and having written for various print publications over the years, I can tell you that there is sometimes as much as a 2-3 month lag time when it comes to the time in which an article is finished and is actually published.
The rumors pertaining to Fedor’s potential departure have been swirling for several months and I had even spoken to several promotions that had claimed Emelianenko’s management team was soliciting proposals from them. However, in light of my recent CBSSports.com interview with M-1 Global CEO Monte Cox in which Cox said progress had been made between the two sides, I wasn’t sure if the ESPN article was using old quotes from when times were bad or if there had been a setback in talks.
Furthermore, in knowing that some in M-1 Global have blamed Apy Echteld as the primary reason for communication problems between the promotion and Fedor’s management, I was even more skeptical since he was quoted for the story.
However, after talking to sources connected to both sides, it’s pretty clear that there are still many issues that need to be worked out. One unnamed source even told me that they wouldn’t be surprised if Vadim Finkelstein, Fedor’s manager, even ended up trying to re-acquire the M-1 brand from Sibling Sports.
It’s still essential not to jump to conclusions. I’m reading a lot of sites that are already referring to Fedor as a free agent. He is not. In fact, a source also indicated that while unlikely, it’s still not impossible that an agreement is worked out and M-1 Global still ends up holding a show in the States this coming June that features Fedor.
So while a lot of people think they know what’s going to happen, nothing is for certain. One thing that I do believe is certain — and I don’t care how many people say it’s not out of the question — is that you will not see Fedor’s management suddenly come to an agreement with the UFC should Fedor become available again. If Fedor becomes available the real players for his services will be DREAM, Mark Cuban, and Golden Boy Promotions.
Update: If I was a betting man I’d put my money on Fedor signing with Golden Boy/Affliction. But that’s just a guess.