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Report: Fedor Emelianenko to Become Free Agent
Report: Fedor Emelianenko to Become Free Agent - MMAjunkie.com
by MMAjunkie.com Staff [mmajunkie-staff] on Mar 06, 2008 at 11:45 pm
Famed heavyweight fighter Fedor Emelianenko will part ways with the M-1 Global organization next week and will officially become a "free agent," according to a report from ESPN.com.
"Divorce negotiations" are currently underway, according to the report, with a formal announcement of Emelianenko's exit from M-1 Global expected in the next few days.
Emelianenko, the reigning PRIDE heavyweight champion until the organization's eventual demise last year, signed with M-1 Global in October. A group of American investors purchased the organization from Emelianenko's manager, restructured it, and hired noted fighter agent Monte Cox as its CEO. However, the organization has yet to host its first event, nor has it announced any additional fighter signings.
Red and Green: The Fedor Fiasco
Red and Green: The Fedor Fiasco
March 10, 2008
by Jake Rossen (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Stop me if you've heard this one. Fedor Emelianenko (Pictures) is once again -- allegedly, presumably, unofficially, categorically, depressingly -- the most valuable free agent in mixed martial arts.
Emelianenko's cryostasis was supposed to have thawed with his M-1 Global affiliation last fall. Instead, we got one vapid fight against Marvel Comics mutant Hong Man Choi (Pictures), months of thumb twiddling courtesy of the front office and fatiguing speculation over a theoretical bout with Randy Couture (Pictures). (It's now a fight that can't possibly live up to the unending, insufferable hype.)
M-1 -- led by respected athlete manager Monte Cox -- seemed optimistic that it could circumvent the obvious problems in trying to build a promotional foundation spread across two continents. (Perhaps Cox should've consulted with Ed Fishman, Dana White or anyone who's tried to negotiate foreign combat policy with obstinate peers from overseas.) Now comes word that M-1 is about to implode thanks to warring ideals and what some smart person once dubbed "paralysis by analysis," the act of overthinking everything and therefore doing nothing.
And so the Emelianenko sweepstakes have been resurrected, with the countless freshman organizations all coveting the cache that comes from hosting the presumed world's best fighter.
But as Emelianenko and his agents may soon discover, the adhesive on that label is beginning to peel.
The Russian's last important fight was against Mark Hunt (Pictures) in December 2006 -- and Hunt, barely on the fringe of the heavyweight scene, made Emelianenko work for it. Since then, Emelianenko has fought only twice, the spectacle against Choi and a pointless bout with middleweight Matt Lindland (Pictures).
At what point does the hype expire on the hyperbole?
While the Red Devil figurehead has been busy in the boardroom, athletes like Anderson Silva, Quinton Jackson (Pictures) and Georges St. Pierre (Pictures) have been busy challenging the best in their respective divisions. Even mainstream media, which was all too quick to buy into the concept of Emelianenko as a mystical, mythical figure, has now slotted Silva as the pound-for-pound great. (Imagine the outcry if Silva proceeded to spend the next three years fighting medical oddities and lightweights.)
At a certain point, one has to wonder whether the myriad of financial and contractual impositions that Emelianenko promises are still worth it. If you're paying for the sport's best, shouldn't he have to offer contemporary proof of that? If you're doing due diligence on your investment, wouldn't you question your athlete's diluted career?
Emelianenko, as this space has often charged, possesses his image in part because the heavyweight division is the flimsiest in the game. Aside from highly impressive wins against Mirko Filipovic (Pictures) and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (Pictures), he's yet to dominate a majority slice of the top 10. And under the right (or wrong, depending on your perspective) rule set, a good wrestler stands an excellent chance of grounding him and using elbows to turn his scar-stricken forehead into tenderloin.
That's a pretty anticlimactic end to what would be a massive investment.
That said, the UFC -- surely a reluctant contestant in the drawing -- could do worse than to make an effort to see the Emelianenko-Couture bout happen, which would snatch away one of the more significant fights from the competition and sway media attention back to the premier MMA brand in North America.
White and his crew may not feel that heat, however. Despite the incessant fan and press chatter every time the heavyweight passes gas, the bulk of the UFC's customers have little idea what the match truly represents. The blanket story that there's some kind of Pride invasion has been quashed with the mediocre results offered by Wanderlei Silva (Pictures), Dan Henderson (Pictures) and others.
What's really for sale, then? A nearly anonymous foreign fighter who speaks little English, sports a dumpy physique and hasn't been pushed in a fight in years. Call it sacrilege, but Kimbo Slice is poised to sell more pay-per-views than Emelianenko -- at a fraction of his price.
It's ironic that Emelianenko's value revolves solely around a shaky claim to being the sport's best, yet he continues to do nothing to substantiate it.
At least he is re-entering the free market with a fresh line of suitors. EliteXC's deal with CBS might encourage the promotion to open its wallets and send the Russian on a tour of fighting B- and C-list heavyweights with the occasional meaningful fight (Josh Barnett (Pictures), possibly Andrei Arlovski (Pictures)) thrown in. Rumors of the Affliction clothing company and Oscar De La Hoya entering the business could drive up his price further.
But as Emelianenko's middling recent results and contractual foot-stomping have indicated, any and all potential business partners should pay heed to the appropriate Latin cliché: Drago's caveat emptor.
Let Fedor's buyer beware.
this whole thing is a mess. i just want it all to be over so we can stop being teased with the possibility that fedor might end up the in ufc where he belongs. they just wont offer him as much money or freedom as he wants in his contracts.
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