M-1 Global‚Äôs Director of Operations, Evgeni Kogan, denied an MMAFighting.com report Tuesday that stated the company‚Äôs Holland-based office had recently closed its doors. Kogan also denied that the promotional/management group is in a state of ‚Äúpanic‚ÄĚ and disarray following its client Fedor Emelianenko‚Äôs loss to Fabricio Werdum at Strikeforce/M-1 Global ‚ÄúFedor vs. Werdum‚ÄĚ on June 26 in San Jose, Calif.
Kogan told Sherdog.com on Tuesday that the company recently fired four employees in its Holland office as part of its ongoing restructuring of the organization, but that the office remains fully functional with seven employees. Kogan, who was hired in January specifically to reassess the company‚Äôs operations, said he wasn‚Äôt sure if it would be necessary to replace the recently dismissed employees and that he remains a part of the Dutch office himself.
In addition, Kogan said M-1 Global currently has more than 60 full-time personnel internationally, with offices in St. Petersburg, Russia (30 employees); Ukraine (20 employees); the U.S. (5 employees); as well as individual affiliates in Asia. Kogan said all of the offices overlap in M-1 Global‚Äôs day-to-day operations. Kogan said the Holland branch has been and will still be considered the organization‚Äôs main headquarters, as it presides mostly over Emelianenko‚Äôs projects.
‚ÄúThis is just four people out of 70 and there‚Äôs constant crossover,‚ÄĚ said Kogan. ‚ÄúWe have people from the Russian office working in the States. We have people from Holland traveling (to shows.) Those four people weren‚Äôt four out of 11; it was four of 70.‚ÄĚ
M-1 Global will promote a Moscow event on July 22 and the next leg of its ‚ÄúSelection‚ÄĚ series on Aug. 7 at Bally‚Äôs Hotel and Casino in Atlantic City, N.J., said Kogan.
The M-1 representative stated that all of the fighters M-1 has contracted -- including its Dutch athletes -- are still scheduled to compete.
Kogan said the report stemmed from ‚Äúa disgruntled former employee‚ÄĚ who spoke to a Russian Web site. Kogan suggested that other Web sites had translated the report and used its information.
Kogan also denied that M-1 has lost investors in the wake of Emelianenko‚Äôs defeat.
‚ÄúIt‚Äôs been the same investors and leadership since 1997,‚ÄĚ said Kogan. ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs been the same people (involved) for 13 years. Nothing has changed. For 13 years, it‚Äôs been the same. It‚Äôs the oldest running (MMA) organization in its current form.‚ÄĚ
Kogan said Russian businessman Sergei Matvienko, who was present at June 26‚Äôs co-promoted event with M-1 Global President Vadim Finkelchstein, remains a steadfast and ‚Äúsubstantial‚ÄĚ investor.
And though Kogan said himself and other M-1 Global employees were upset following‚Äôs Emelianenko‚Äôs first loss in 29 fights and nearly 10 years, the defeat has little bearing on the business mechanics of the organization moving forward.
‚ÄúThe business side of things doesn‚Äôt change,‚ÄĚ said Kogan. ‚ÄúIf Michael Schumacher doesn‚Äôt win a Formula 1 season, does (it cost him) half the money in the next season? It‚Äôs ridiculous. The business reality has nothing to do with one loss. It‚Äôs completely misguided to think that it makes any difference.‚ÄĚ
Emelianenko has one more bout under M-1 and Strikeforce‚Äôs current co-promotional contract. Both entities have independently stated they will meet again shortly to explore contract extensions already laid out in the agreement. Kogan downplayed that Emelianenko‚Äôs recent defeat would affect M-1 Global‚Äôs negotiation power with the U.S.-based promotion. Kogan stated that the 33-year-old Russian fighter -- considered one of the greatest mixed martial arts‚Äô fighters ever -- is still a commodity.
‚ÄúFedor has status in this sport, financially and in terms of perspective,‚ÄĚ said Kogan. ‚ÄúTo believe any different is to be out of touch with the business reality of mixed martial arts or any other sport for that matter.‚ÄĚ
Kogan also said it was absurd for observers to claim that M-1 Global never banked on Emelianenko losing in the future.
‚ÄúI think it‚Äôs the same kind of statement as if you said, ‚ÄėWe‚Äôre morons,‚Äô‚ÄĚ said Kogan.