Strikeforce Dealing With Fedor Emelianenko's, Alistair Overeem's Open Contracts
UFC President Dana White has been criticized for the promotionās all-bases-covered, iron-clad contracts that prevent UFC fighters from fighting in any other promotion. But, White has an advantage over promotions that donāt follow suit. When White wants a fight, he gets the fight if the fighters he wants matched up are under contract.
Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker is dealing with the fallout from not following the UFCās model and offering fighters more lenient contractual terms.
āI can tell you this,ā Coker told MMA Junkie Thursday about negotiations with Fighters.com top-ranked heavyweight āThe Last Emperorā Fedor Emelianenko (31-1), āweāve been having really good dialogue with M-1 Global and [M-1 Global president] Vadim Finkelchtein, and I think weāre in the final stages of buttoning everything up to make [a fight] again. I think weāll have an announcement soon on that, but I feel very confident weāll be promoting Fedor here in the near future.ā
Sounds great, but what are Coker and Finkelchtein talking about? Donāt they already have a contract?
Coker explained to MMA Junkie, āWhen I dealt with companies in Japan, itās the same thing. You have cultural differences, and you have expectations. When expectations and the cultural differences meet with the cultural differences here and the expectations of an American company, sometimes thereās some differences, and thereās some things that we needed to button up.ā
Renegotiating with a fighter after every fight is an additional hurdle the UFC doesnāt have. White says fight and you fight, with wiggle room allowed for injuries, preparation time, personal issues, etc. But, if youāre a healthy UFC fighter and youāre offered a fight, you fight, sometimes on very short notice.
Emelianenko and his management are notoriously difficult to deal with, which is at least half the reason Emelianenko isnāt fighting in the UFC.
Also on Cokerās plate is convincing Strikeforce heavyweight champion āDemolition Manā Alistair Overeem (30-11) to return to the promotion to defend his title, or not.
Coker told MMA Junkie, āWeāre going to make an announcement next week, so I donāt want to say anything about [the title implications of the fight between Overeem and sixth-ranked āGrimā Brett Rogers (10-1)], but it might be something that people are not expecting.ā
Hell, Overeem actually fighting might be something that people are not expecting given his preference to take weaker matchups in nations where heās more popular. And, I donāt begrudge him that. MMA is a business.
However, Cokerās hassles with Emelianenko and Overeem are additional problems Strikeforce has to deal with that the UFC doesnāt. And, it doesnāt just affect the behind the scenes portion of the business. I know when the UFC announces a matchup Iām going to see that fight on the announced date unless thereās an injury. Following Strikeforce is like a Hitchcock film: twists and turns and surprise endings, which isnāt necessarily what I want in an MMA promotion.