. Strikeforce Dealing With Fedor Emelianenko's, Alistair Overeem's Open Contracts
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03.05.2010

Strikeforce Dealing With Fedor Emelianenko's, Alistair Overeem's Open Contracts

UFC President Dana White has been criticized for the promotion’s all-bases-covered, iron-clad contracts that prevent UFC fighters from fighting in any other promotion. But, White has an advantage over promotions that don’t 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 UFC’s model and offering fighters more lenient contractual terms.

“I can tell you this,” Coker told MMA Junkie Thursday about negotiations with Fighters.com top-ranked heavyweight “The Last Emperor” Fedor Emelianenko (31-1), “we’ve been having really good dialogue with M-1 Global and [M-1 Global president] Vadim Finkelchtein, and I think we’re in the final stages of buttoning everything up to make [a fight] again. I think we’ll have an announcement soon on that, but I feel very confident we’ll be promoting Fedor here in the near future.”

Sounds great, but what are Coker and Finkelchtein talking about? Don’t they already have a contract?

Coker explained to MMA Junkie, “When I dealt with companies in Japan, it’s 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 there’s some differences, and there’s some things that we needed to button up.”

Renegotiating with a fighter after every fight is an additional hurdle the UFC doesn’t have. White says fight and you fight, with wiggle room allowed for injuries, preparation time, personal issues, etc. But, if you’re a healthy UFC fighter and you’re 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 isn’t fighting in the UFC.

Also on Coker’s plate is convincing Strikeforce heavyweight champion “Demolition Man” Alistair Overeem (30-11) to return to the promotion to defend his title, or not.

Coker told MMA Junkie, “We’re going to make an announcement next week, so I don’t want to say anything about [the title implications of the fight between Overeem and sixth-ranked “Grim” Brett Rogers (10-1)], but it might be something that people are not expecting.”

Hell, Overeem actually fighting might be something that people are not expecting given his preference to take weaker matchups in nations where he’s more popular. And, I don’t begrudge him that. MMA is a business.

However, Coker’s hassles with Emelianenko and Overeem are additional problems Strikeforce has to deal with that the UFC doesn’t. And, it doesn’t just affect the behind the scenes portion of the business. I know when the UFC announces a matchup I’m going to see that fight on the announced date unless there’s an injury. Following Strikeforce is like a Hitchcock film: twists and turns and surprise endings, which isn’t necessarily what I want in an MMA promotion.

Fedor source: http://www.fighters.com/03/05/strikeforce-dealing-with-fedor-emelianenkos-alistair-overeems-open-contracts

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