After the collapse of Affliction Entertainment in August 2009 ended the co-promotion between Affliction and M-1 Global, Fighters.com Heavyweight Champion ‚ÄúLast Emperor‚ÄĚ Fedor Emelianenko (31-1) and his M-1 Global management team never approached UFC President Dana White about Emelianenko joining the UFC, M-1 Global President Vadim Finkelchtein recently told Fighters.com through a translator.
Apparently, Emelianenko and Finklechtein had heard enough after a sour experience negotiating with White and the UFC after the UFC‚Äôs parent company, Zuffa, LLC, purchased PRIDE, the Japanese MMA promotion Emelianenko had been fighting for, and White‚Äôs repeated public insults toward Emelianenko and the rest of the ‚Äúcrazy Russians.‚ÄĚ
‚ÄúFedor is bigger than the UFC all over the world,‚ÄĚ Finkelchtein repeated to Fighters.com, a claim hard to verify, but likely true in three key markets: Russia, Japan, and South Korea. ‚ÄúIn Korea, little children know Fedor‚Äôs name,‚ÄĚ Finkelchtein
But, when White came requesting Emelianenko fight in the UFC after Affliction‚Äôs collapse, Emelianenko and Finkelchtein graciously decided to press the reset button on the relationship. Besides, Affliction had switched allegiances seemingly overnight to partner with the UFC and left M-1 Global without a partner with which to co-promote Emelianenko‚Äôs fights.
But, Finkelchtein now regrets that decision. Emelianenko and Finkelchtein laid out their requirements for Emelianenko to fight in any promotion, even the UFC. Their demands were much the same as during the previous negotiations, and did not include a request for 50% of the UFC (as White has claimed). It‚Äôs important to Finkelchtein for everyone to recognize that Emelianenko is not a free agent, and was not during the negotiations with the UFC. Emelianenko is contractually obligated to M-1 Global, as well as a stakeholder in the MMA promotion. Any fights featuring Emelianenko must be co-promotions with M-1 Global, per Emelianenko‚Äôs contract with M-1 Global.
White and the UFC evidently never recognized M-1
Global‚Äôs legal rights to promote Emelianenko‚Äôs fights, negotiating as if Emelianenko was a free agent. It is Finkelchtein‚Äôs right to enforce Emelianenko‚Äôs contractual obligation to M-1 Global, just as it was White and the UFC‚Äôs right to sue ‚ÄúThe Natural‚ÄĚ Randy Couture (17-10) when Couture tried to wriggle free from his contract to fight Emelianenko in 2007 and 2008. White defended his legal rights to promote Couture; and, Finkelchtein will defend his legal rights to promote Emelianenko.
So, when White and the UFC refused to co-promote Emelianenko with M-1 Global, Emelianenko and Finkelchtein wondered what the UFC had called them for. They felt like, ‚ÄúIf you want Emelianenko, here are the terms; if not, stop wasting our time.‚ÄĚ
But, then White took his frustrations to the media and made claims about the UFC‚Äôs offer to Emelianenko and Emelianenko and Finkelchtein‚Äôs demands that are false, according to Finkelchtein and M-1 Global.
‚ÄúWe don‚Äôt want anything to do with the UFC,‚ÄĚ Finkelchtein told Fighters.com. ‚ÄúThey can do their business, we‚Äôll do ours.‚ÄĚ
mind, he never asked to do business with the UFC, nor does he need the UFC to make money promoting Emelianenko‚Äôs fights. So, why would White ask Emelianenko to fight for the UFC, then insult Emelianenko and Finkelchtein and lie to the media when White refused to meet the demands White knew were required? It was as if White set them up.
Finkelchtein is aware that his and Emelianenko‚Äôs story hasn‚Äôt been reported in the MMA press, and expressed frustration to Fighters.com. ‚ÄúI sent answers to Sherdog, but they weren‚Äôt published,‚ÄĚ Finkelchtein claimed.