Perhaps the cold war isn't over after all -- at least not between the MMA superpowers.
After nearly three months of closed door negotiations, Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker was able to find a suitable buyer for his San Jose-based fight promotion after his investors expressed an interest in getting out of the fight game and back to the business of ice hockey.
UFC President Dana White shocked the MMA world back on March 12 when he revealed that Zuffa, parent company of Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), was the proud new owner of what was widely considered the world's number two fight promotion.
Count M-1 President and Strikeforce co-promoter Vadim Finkelchtein among those taken by surprise.
"All I can say is that everybody handles their business in their own way" Finkelchtein told Championat.ru (via LowKick.com). "This deal was a total surprise to me, since it was done behind our back. I didn't know anything about the course of any negotiation [between ZUFFA and Strikeforce]. Nevertheless, it wouldn't have any sort of effect on M-1 as a company, and on Fedor Emelianenko as a fighter. We will continue to operate in the same way we did before ... I didn't speak to Scott Coker about it. And to tell you the truth, I don't think the topic will surface up when we meet. If he ever wanted to discuss this deal, he would tell me about it a while ago, at its early stage ... [Co-promoting with the UFC is] not something that is up to us. If the UFC would like to work with us, we are ready to consider their offer. I said not once that we are interested in working with this company, so we'll see."
At this time, no changes to either promotion are expected and Strikeforce will continue to operate as a separate entity from its new parent company.
"Business as usual," according to White, but that doesn't mean the wheels aren't still turning behind the scenes. Unfortunately there isn't much they can do with Finkelchtein's most valuable asset, heavyweight attraction Fedor Emelianenko, who is contracted by the Showtime network.
Zuffa is not expected to pursue a renewal of the Showtime deal when it expires in 2014.
What then? Will Finkelchtein head back behind the iron curtain to continue to push his M-1 brand of MMA across Europe? Will Fedor Emelianenko retire?
And was Finky left out of the loop on purpose?
What say you?