By now it's no secret that former Pride FC Heavyweight Champion and Affliction headliner Fedor Emelianenko is being vigorously pursued by most of the world's mixed martial arts promotions following the untimely demise of his previous employer, Affliction MMA.
Topping the list of potential suitors is Dana White, president of The Ultimate Fighting Championship, who no doubt sees the biggest pay-per-view (PPV) of all time in his company's future should he somehow finagle a heavyweight superfight between the Russian Rancor and Zuffa's pale powerhouse, Brock Lesnar.
Our friends at BloodyElbow posted a report from radio host Carmichael Dave stating that the UFC allegedly offered Emelianenko the most lucrative contract in the history of the sport, practically bending to every demand from his management team -- except one:
- The UFC offered Fedor a six-fight, 30 million dollar contract (based on Zuffa’s projections of future PPV revenue).
- The UFC offered Fedor an immediate title shot.
- The UFC offered M-1 Global a cut of the championship PPV on top of Fedor's purse anticipating Lesnar vs. Fedor as the biggest PPV in MMA history.
- Fedor was free to wear as many M-1 sponsored items as he wanted.
- The UFC would grant Fedor the ability to compete in combat Sambo tournaments.
So what's the hold up? Vadim "Co-promotion" Finkelchtein, it seems.
"The Last Emperor" operates under the power of the M-1 Global President and Co-Owner for all his business dealings. It's co-promote or bust for Vaddy. And despite the bags of money that White and Co. have been leaving at the Russian's doorstep, Fedor appears unmotivated to secure a deal.
From his July 29 press conference:
"The offer which was made by the UFC is not interesting for us. I completely trust Vadim and I completely trust our team in M-1 Global."
Most of the mixed martial arts community has been screaming for some sort of forced intervention. What's ironic is that most negotiations fall through because the star being courted is demanding an obscene amount of money.
In this case the negotiations are falling through because he's rejecting an obscene amount of money. Welcome to bizarro world, where Finkelchtein is the anti-Boras.
Lest anyone think the MMA fan base has reacted inappropriately by storming the M-1 castle with torches and pitchforks, Fedor's younger brother Aleksander Emelianenko has also called into question the true motives of Finkelchtein and whether or not he's serving Fedor or himself.
From his native Sports.ru:
"You can deal with UFC, I know that they have flexible contract system. All these talks about "strict" contract terms with signing with UFC, come ONLY from Vadim Finkelstein, who wants to push his owns business projects through Fedor's fights."
The M-1 camp quickly labeled him as a black sheep, lost in his brother's shadow and unable to focus on his own career. But how much of that is bitter pie and how much of it is actual truth, like most things, doesn't faze Fedor.
Also from his July 29 presser:
"Well I think that Aleksander unfortunately has no idea about the contracts. He didn't have a chance to read the contracts and I did. I have a good relationship with Aleksander and not long ago we trained together, but sometimes I cannot understand [his] actions."
If it's of any consolation to Aleks, sometimes the mixed martial arts community cannot understand Fedor's actions either.
Maybe we'll see him inside the Octagon one day, maybe we won't. Until then, it's back to the speculation board as we try and figure out who the best heavyweight fighter in the world might be.