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Fedor Emelianenko inks deal with EA Sports; Negotiations with UFC still ongoing

fedor affliction press conference

Despite a report from the Los Angeles Times that set the mixed martial arts community on fire yesterday, which indicated that the top heavyweight fighter on the planet, Fedor Emelianenko, was close to finally "finalizing a deal" with Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), M-1 Global (M-1) today held a press conference that essentially nixed that possibility once again.

For now, anyway.

It was difficult to hear the audio, but the message was clear: Negotiations between Emelianenko and the UFC are "diplomatic" and ongoing, but M-1 will only work under "co-promotion conditions" to spread the word of MMA globally.

Because as Vadim Finkelchtein, who runs M-1 to produce international MMA events and also manages Emelianenko, said during the call, the UFC cannot be the only show in town and that "he’s worked too hard" over the years building M-1 to spread MMA worldwide.

Reality check: Wouldn’t those efforts be best served long-term with Emelianenko as the undisputed best fighter in the world as current or former UFC champion? Sure, he’d have to defeat Brock Lesnar, but that’s not really the point.

The point is Finkelchtein appears to be holding all of Emelianenko's cards. And we can only hope that the seemingly self-serving statements that he made today were designed to up the ante and force the hand of the casino billionaires who run Zuffa (yes, even though Station Casinos recently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection) at the negotiating table.

Who knows.

But for now what we do know is: Emelianenko is not headed for the UFC, which apparently made a very generous offer that Finkelchtein noted "wasn’t interesting to us," right now, other promotions such as Strikeforce are still in the mix, and he will fight "very soon."

Oh, and Emelianenko recently agreed to "headline" the upcoming EA sports MMA video game, which will more than likely go over like a lead balloon over at UFC and THQ corporate headquarters.

Until Friday, Maniacs, when "As Fedor Turns" continues at the UFC press conference.

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