"Human sacrifices, dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria!"
The mixed martial arts community has been waiting for the other shoe to drop after top ranked heavyweight Fedor Emelianenko suffered his first defeat in nine years at the hands of Fabricio Werdum on Showtime's June 26 Strikeforce card in San Jose.
While the fighter will likely rebound, what about Strikeforce? Or M-1 Global -- who may have placed all their financial eggs in the Russian's basket?
According to a report from MMA Fighting, "The Last Emperor's" promotional organization "is in disarray" after the former PRIDE champion's defeat, even closing its head office in the Netherlands as investors begin to jump ship at the prospect of M-1 losing their negotiating power.
UFC President Dana White, who was obsessed with the acquisition of Emelianenko, has publicly stated he now has "zero interest" in signing the WAMMA kingpin, who lost some of his mystique following the Werdum loss.
From blank checks to "no thanks" is a tough spot to be in from a bargaining standpoint, especially with just one fight remaining on Emelianenko's current Strikeforce contract.
Yet M-1 Global's Director of Operations Evgeni Kogan is not giving the article much credence, telling Luke Thomas at Bloody Elbow the report is "100-percent made up."
"...That article is 100% made up. There is not an ounce of truth to it. There is no panic, Fedor retains his status in the sport (financially and in terms of perspective). To believe any different is to be out of touch with the business reality of MMA (or any other sport for that matter). The head office in Holland is here and isn't going anywhere anytime soon. As are the offices in Russia, Ukraine, US and the affiliates in Asia. M-1 remains healthy and has the same leadership and investors as it has had since 1997 (making it pretty much the longest running promotion out there). We're looking forward to promoting the Selection finals in Moscow on the 22nd and the Semis in AC on August the 7th. Challenge will take place in the fall."
It's hard to imagine such a disparity between the two sides, but there is no question that investors would express concern if their top money maker was no longer able to provide the same return on investment.
But is it enough to cause a company-wide "panic?"
That remains to be seen.
Stay tuned to MMAmania.com for more updates to this still-developing story.