As I sit here watching Rocky IV, I cant help but think of Fedor Emelianenko. Not as the hero Rocky, but as his terrifying Russian opponent, Ivan Drago. The similarities between these two are almost unparalleled. Both are larger than life heavyweights, although Fedor’s more in legacy than physique. Both are fighting machines with unmatched strength and power. And both have management who seem to dictate their every move.
Very rarely does the man speak for himself, and never have I seen him without his Manager/Promoter, Vadim Finkelchtein. I’m just waiting for Bridgette Neilson to come out with spiked hair and nod in approval.
So this leads me to the question everyone wants answered. Who is in control of Fedor Emelianenko? Is it possible that Fedor agrees with everything Finkelchtein says or does?
I ask this question because as of now, Fedor and Finkelchtein are back in Russia without a signed contract. Reports state UFC offers ranged between 2 million a fight, up to 30 million for six fights. If these numbers are true, it’s pretty hard to think any fighter would pass them up. I understand the negotiation politics between agent/athlete and the possible organization who wants him, but can an offer get any better than that? Does anyone think Strikeforce can match what the UFC is offering? Would Fedor even be relevant if he went back to Japan?
As of now the two parties are at a stale-mate over one issue: a co-promotion. I believe this will never happen due to a couple of reasons.
One is the fact that the owners of Zuffa, Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta have Nevada State Gaming Licenses. This is the “impossible” that Dana White declared in his recent statements. Meaning if a co-promotion was to take place, a real hard look would have to be taken at M1-Global. If there were any shady involvements in the “Crazy Russians” past, it most certainly would make life miserable for the Fertitta’s. They have already been involved with a lawsuit when they bought Pride due to similar circumstances, and I’m sure they want to avoid this at all costs.
The second reason is simple, the UFC does not want another company to ride on their coat-tails. You can’t blame them for this standpoint, it is their company and they are the ones who built it up to what its become. One fighter is not worth equal involvement in a billion dollar company.
So again, who is in control of Fedor?
If the pound for pound best heavyweight fighter in the world wants to continue his legacy, he has to fight in the pound for pound best organization in the world. Most fighters would want to continue to challenge themselves against top level opponents and not worry about their management’s agenda. They would want to showcase their skills on the largest stage in the world, and don’t get me started on how unethical I believe it is to have the same Manager/Promoter. MMA continues to be the only sport that this is still allowed.
Although negotiations at this time are still open, it would be a shame to see Fedor in any other organization other than the UFC.
I know Fedor has stated publicly that he trusts in everything Finelchtein does. But this man continues to wish for that one day where he stands up, grabs Vadim by the throat and tosses him to the side. And just like Ivan Drago in Rocky IV, screams, “I FIGHT TO WIN! I FIGHT FOR ME!”