Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker will begin discussions with co-promotional partner M-1 Global as early as this weekend for the third and final event on their existing contract. It will be the first time the companies talk shop since Fedor Emelianenkoās stunning 69-second submission defeat at the hands of Fabricio Werdum on June 26 in San Jose, Calif.
At the top of the list will be determining Emelianenkoās next opponent and where the event will take place, as well as negotiations to re-up a deal to produce additional events together into 2011.
Regarding Emelianenko, Coker said heās well aware that M-1 Global has its sights set on its client Emelianenko getting an immediate rematch with Werdum, who snapped the 33-year-old Russianās unmatched 28-fight win streak amassed over nearly a decade.
Werdum has openly stated heād grant Emelianenko the rematch and would like to see the fight promoted in Russia, where the Brazilian believes not a seat would be left empty.
Richard Wilner, Werdumās manager, said recent reports that the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt will be sidelined for the rest of 2010 to undergo elbow surgery are incorrect. In an e-mail to Sherdog.com on Friday, Wilner wrote that Werdum will meet with a physician next week to evaluate his elbow and that if he required surgery, it āwould certainly be minor.ā
āHe's back in the gym helping his teammates train for their upcoming fights. He is at the same time still celebrating his victory, enjoying his family, making appearances, teaching, etc.,ā wrote Wilner. āFighting within the year is a possibility if the right opportunity presents itself.ā
Strikeforceās Coker said in the days following the June 26 event that he might be inclined to match Emelianenko against heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem, who has campaigned heavily for the fight for the last year. That field has evidently expanded.
āIt doesnāt have to be Overeem,ā said Coker this week. āIt could be (Antonio) āBig Footā Silva or maybe (Sergei) Kharitonov.ā
The 6-foot-4, 265-pound Silva outboxed former UFC champion Andrei Arlovski to a unanimous decision victory at Strikeforce āHeavy Artilleryā on May 15 in St. Louis. Kharitonov, the promotionās most recent heavyweight acquisition, was an active fixture of Japanās Pride Fighting Championships and dropped a first-round submission loss to Jeff Monson at Dream 8 in April 2009.
Of all the possibilities, Coker was certain who Emelianenko wouldnāt meet next, though.
āItās not Fabricio Werdum,ā he said. āHe already beat (Fedor). To me, itās only been a month (since the first fight). We saw the Werdum fight already. I think when they eventually hook up and fight again, it will be an amazing fight and event.ā
Coker knocked rumors that a proposed Overeem-Emelianenko match served to lock the Russian into a āchampionās clause,ā a component of standard contracts that makes it difficult for a fighter to exit a promotion once he wins a title.
āThatās not it at all,ā said Coker. āDepending on if thereās any future fights, if he fights Overeem, it might not be a title fight. It doesnāt have to be (for the title). If Fedor is on his last fight with us, we wouldnāt make it a title fight with Alistair. But why shouldnāt that fight happen regardless?ā
When asked what might transpire if M-1 Global is adamant that their client only face Werdum next, Coker had a stern reply.
āI just donāt think theyāll have a choice,ā he said.
If the two promotions canāt come to terms on a contract extension or new agreement, Coker said Strikeforce has āfirst rights to negotiateā should M-1 Global and Emelianenko seek out another offer.