Several days removed from the news that former Pride champion Fedor Emelianenko will fight former UFC contender Jeff Monson, at M-1 Globalās upcoming November 20th event in Moscow, Russia, no plans to broadcast the heavyweight tilt live throughout North America have been announced. When the fight was confirmed, there was widespread speculation that perhaps Showtime and M-1 Global would partner up for the November card as they will again on October 14th in Phoenix, Arizona. As September comes to a close, however, thereās been little news on that front.
āWeāre still in talks with Showtime as well as several other possibilities to show this fight in North America,ā M-1 Globalās Director of Operations Evgeni Kogan told FCF today. āI guess thereās not a huge amount of time left to do a deal, so maybe within two or three weekās we will have something sorted, but everything is continuing. I think itās very likely that the bout will be live in North America, albeit, very early on the Sunday morning in the U.S., especially on the West Coast.ā
Of course, while fans may be wondering if and how they will be able to catch the Fedor, Monson bout live, there has also been considerable discussion as of late, as to what Showtimeās long term plans are for MMA programming and whether the network will renew its agreement with Strikeforce. If Showtime elected to pick up the Fedor, Monson bout in November, it could be an indication that the network is indeed strongly committed to carrying MMA in the future, especially when one considers that the fight will take place far removed from āprime time.ā
āFor our purposes in Russia, it means that the fight will probably take place around 10 in the morning on the U.S. East Coast and 7 in the morning on the West Coast; thatās really early,ā Kogan said. āWe appreciate that for American television, for Showtime and other people that weāre talking to for potential pay-per-view, thatās not the easiest thing for negotiations and try to move this alongā¦Hopefully weāll come to an arrangement that will satisfy everyone.ā
āFor us, this event had to happen in Russia,ā Kogan noted. āWe have some pretty powerful and large sponsors, and with this event, weāre working directly with Russia 2 which is doing lots of pre-fight programming and also broadcasting the fight live. There will be a lot of press in Moscow, so the Russian fans, Russian media; that was our first priority.ā
According to Kogan, however, at a minimum, American and Canadian fans will be able to catch the card live online.
āThrough the web, people will for sure be able to see that fight,ā Kogan added. āFor television, I canāt guarantee it at the moment, but through the internet there will be some sort of pay-per-view option for people to watch.ā
Time difference aside, some also might be questioning whether Emelianenko has the same market appeal and drawing power due to the legendary fighterās three consecutive losses.
āI do,ā said Kogan. āGiven that this event is on a Sunday and it happens so early, that I donāt know about. I think some casual fans may not get up so early to watch, simply because itās inconvenient. Do I think that Fedor still has the power to draw fans if heās fighting on a Saturday, in the evening, for sureā¦He Ā needs to get a couple of wins to get back in favor with some fans and some media, but I think he does.ā
In stark contrast to recent years where Emelianenko has only fought once or twice annually, the November 20th bout with Monson will be the 34 year-old-fighterās third of the year. According to Kogan, however, there remains a possibility that Fedorās 2011 campaign may not end in November.
āShould everything go okay in this fight, Fedorās next fight will happen at the end of the year, hopefully in Japan,ā Kogan said. āThatās what weāve been discussing.ā
āItās a possibility,ā Kogan said while clarifying that Emelianenko could compete on FEGās New Yearās Eve Dynamite card. āItās not a done deal yet but itās in talks that it might happen.ā
By Kelsey Mowatt