M-1 Global will a pursue a rematch between its top client, Fedor Emelianenko, and Fabricio Werdum when the management team meets with its co-promotional partner Strikeforce in the coming weeks to discuss a contract extension.
Evgeni Kogan, Director of Operations for the Holland-based organization, said that M-1 Global hopes to co-promote the rematch with Strikeforce before the yearâ€™s end. Werdum submitted Emelianenko with a triangle choke-armbar combination at the two promotionsâ€™ second co-branded event on June 26 in San Jose, Calif.
â€śFor us, it makes the most sense for us to do the Werdum fight because it seems like thatâ€™s the fight that all the fans want,â€ť Kogan told Sherdog.com on Tuesday. â€śIn Russia, 85 percent of the respondents (to a recent poll) -- and thatâ€™s thousands of people â€“--are saying that thatâ€™s the fight they want.â€ť
Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker told the Sherdog Radio Networkâ€™s â€śBeatdownâ€ť show last week that a bout between the 33-year-old Russian fighter and heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem was still a possibility, despite Emelianenkoâ€™s first loss in nearly 10 years.
â€śOnce we sit down and negotiate with Strikeforce and Showtime, the next opponent will become clear in a reasonable short period of time,â€ť said Kogan.
Kogan said that Emelianenko is taking a brief vacation with his family before resuming his training.
â€śOut of everyone following the fight, (Fedor) was the most OK,â€ť said Kogan of Emelianenkoâ€™s mindset. â€śTo him, I can assume it was disappointing, but everyone else seemed much more upset than he was.â€ť
Like in early 2010, Emelianenkoâ€™s return to the Strikeforce cage will depend on upcoming discussions. Following their first co-promoted venture in November 2009, M-1 Global engaged in renegotiations with Strikeforce to revise the three-event contract both had signed that prior August.
The two outlets came to a new agreement in May, and Kogan said that since then, relations between M-1 and Strikeforce have never been better. Kogan added that Showtimeâ€™s inclusion in negotiations has paved an easier path for all. The premium-pay cable network is the U.S. broadcast partner for Strikeforce.
Kogan said M-1 Global is receptive to the next round of negotiations with Strikeforce, which could lead to the entities enacting extensions in their already existing contract for additional co-promoted events featuring Emelianenko. As it stands, Emelianenko will fight once more under the current co-promotional agreement.
â€śWe are open to every eventuality,â€ť said Kogan. â€śWe enjoyed working with Showtime and Strikeforce together. This was, in our opinion, a good co-promoted event. Weâ€™re happy with the way it went and we will consider all options. No path is closed to us.â€ť
UFC President Dana White was among Emelianenkoâ€™s more vocal suitors last year when the coveted former Pride FC champion briefly became a free agent following the collapse of Affliction Entertainment and the cancellation of its Aug. 1 event. Even after Emelianenko turned down a multi-fight, seven-figure exclusive deal with the UFC and went instead with Strikeforce, White still vowed to sign the fighter with a 26-fight win streak.
White said last week that the UFC has â€śzero interestâ€ť in signing Emelianenko now that his unmatchable streak has been snapped. Emelianenkoâ€™s storied career includes victories over greats like Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Mirko â€śCro Copâ€ť Filipovic, as well as an assortment of former UFC champions and contenders.
Kogan had no comment for Whiteâ€™s recent remarks. He confirmed that M-1 Global doesnâ€™t have the legal flexibility to negotiate with other promotions at this time and said, â€śNor do we want to.â€ť
â€śFollowing June 26, we have unfinished business,â€ť said Kogan. â€śWeâ€™d like to deal with the loss. We donâ€™t want to negotiate with others. Weâ€™re happy with our partners.â€ť