Nobody likes it when the boss hires a new guy -- or brings back an old one -- and throws buckets of cash at him. That goes for any job, really, but it's a particularly sensitive issue in mixed martial arts (MMA).
Fortunately or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it, UFC fighters won't have to deal with that kind of cloud hanging over the locker room, as Fedor Emelianenko -- who started a bidding war by announcing his combat sports return back in July -- is returning to Japan on New Year's Eve.
Can't say I blame him, after this report from veteran journalist Dave Meltzer:
Japanese news sources have reported the show being held at the Saitama Super Arena, which makes sense. They've also reported that Emelianenko will earn $2.5 million guaranteed for the show, which tells you why he didn't sign the UFC, since it's guaranteed and most likely he'll face a lesser opponent than he would in UFC. UFC had been negotiating with him and it did seem they were close. UFC sources said they were under the impression Emelianenko signed a two-fight deal with Sakakibara's group. It is believed the show is being financed by an oil-rich foreign investor who already has a stake in the MMA business. Whether he's agreed to invest for one show, or a regular promotion, is unknown.
Rich foreign investors? You don't say...
Despite confirmation with UFC President Dana White that UFC was indeed negotiating with Emelianenko, "The Last Emperor" made a not-so-surprising appearance on the Bellator 142: "Dynamite" telecast last weekend (watch it) to announce his alliance with former PRIDE FC boss Nobuyuki Sakakibara.
An opponent for his return to Japan has yet to be established, but for that kind of cheddar, it probably doesn't matter.