We have all been witness to the finger pointing between M-1 Global and the UFC. Unfortunately in both cases we have been fed only half-truths.
Is this information designed to confuse the fans? Designed to keep them arguing amongst themselves becoming more and more polarized to the point where the truth is not even important anymore, only the argument?
Loyalty is usually considered a virtue. Unfortunately, some people are loyal to a fault. They maintain their loyalty even in the face of ever increasing criticism. These people can be made to overlook the truth for the sake of the familiar. For some, the time and energy invested in another can eventually trap them. Is this is the relationship that has developed between Fedor and his manager Vadim Finkelstein?
Many fans of MMA have blamed Dana White for not signing Fedor. They cite Dana's mouthy nature and irascible personality as culprits of the contract's failure to materialize. Is it really Dana's fault? Is there more that we have not been told by Dana regarding the contract negotiations? Could it be that Dana White and the UFC have been the good guys all along?
To begin answering those questions we must ask even more. What exactly is M-1 Global and how does it figure into this equation?
M-1 Global is supposedly a fighting organization similar to that of Strikeforce and DREAM. M-1 Global co-promotes events as they do not have a large enough stable of fighters to follow the UFC model. If one looks close, however, it can be said that M-1 Global is really just two people. These people are Vadim Finkelstein and Fedor Emelianenko.
At one time light heavyweight phenom, Gregard Mousassi and another fighter on the rise, King Mo, both had deals with M-1 Global. However, Vadim was unable to hold onto them as the M-1 Global organization floundered. Each in turn accepted lucrative deals with Strikeforce and now fight for that organization.
M-1 Global was and is, in a fight of its own. It is in a struggle to survive amidst competition like DREAM, Strikeforce, and the UFC. A struggle it seems to be losing. Yet in the middle of it all sits a silent Fedor Emelianenko. It is clear, however, that Fedor is frustrated.
"I want to fight," he told MMAconvert.
Even bitter M-1 Global detractor Bas Boon of Golden Glory productions states, "I've never heard Fedor say one negative thing about any fighter."
Bas went on to further accuse Vadim of dodging Golden Glory's golden boy Alistair Overeem.
"He knows that if Overeem defeats Fedor it will mean the end of his [Vadim] co-promotion deal with M-1," he said. "Hiding is a sign of weakness and fear."
According to Bas, signing a deal with M-1 Global always means co-promotion. He claims that the M-1 organization is dependant on other people's success, attaching like some sort of parasite.
Bas says it is Vadim that has kept Fedor from fighting in the UFC. The claims are that Dana (UFC president) bent over backwards trying to sign Fedor. Vadim always insisted on co-promotion. Dana White and the UFC could never agree to that.
"Why would I give them half my business?" asked White.
It appears that the UFC indeed offerred Fedor the largest contract in the history of the sport. According to Nationalpost.com, Dana White and the UFC offered Fedor upwards of thirty million dollars. This included a guaranteed number of fights, an immediate title shot, and the ability to do whatever he wanted elsewhere.
As Dana puts it: "I don't care if he competes in Sambo every week".
The only thing the UFC will not agree to is co-promotion. Why should they co-promote an event with an organization consisting of one person?
The answer, according to Vadim, is that Fedor is worth it. Dana counters by pointing out that the UFC offered a cut of the pay per view earnings, as well as agreeing to advertise the M-1 Global logo.
That was as far as the UFC was willing to go.
"I guarantee you that Fedor will never be offered a deal like that ever again," White said. "Just because they think they have the best heavyweight in the world is not enough for me to give up half my business."
So why does Fedor stay loyal to Vadim and the M-1 Global organization? Why does he remain in the grip of this "company" despite losing millions of dollars? Even though it is only Finkelstein that stands between Fedor and the UFC, Fedor remains quiet.
Almost. The grumblings of the disgruntled fighter are being heard for a different reason than money.
"I want to fight," Fedor states. "I will fight anyone I am told to fight [but] I want to fight".
Right now it appears that his next opponent will be Werdum in May of 2010. Fedor is highly favored and following that engagement Vadim hopes to pit him against the venerable Josh Barnett. Hopefully it can happen before the end of the year.
So what then? Will Fedor remain in the clutches of this apparently unbalanced Vadim? Will he ever sign with the UFC? The answer is probably no and yes respectively.
It is apparent that Fedor wants to prove himself against the best fighters in the world, not just the inconsistent engagements produced by Vadim. It is also interesting to note that not a single person involved is blaming Fedor personally for these bad decisions. Dana stated that he would love to deal with Fedor alone but it would be a pointless endeavor.
"He does what his management tells him to do," White flatly stated.
Almost everyone that is anyone in mixxed martial arts agree that Fedor is the best fighter in the world. They warn, however, that if he does not begin to face the better fights (such as in the UFC), he will lose his opportunity. He will not be able to truly cement his legacy because of age.
It is true that Fedor is not getting any younger. Even if everything worked out perfectly, Fedor would still not be seen in the UFC until around April of 2011. He will be close to thirty-five by then.
It is said that the tighter Vadim's grip, the better the chance that Fedor will slip through his fingers. Free to test himself against anyone.
"There is no shame in losing, Fedor will never lose respect," Bas, Alistair Overeem's manager, stated. "He must be allowed to fight the best and Vadim will never allow that"