by Jason Lander
Very shortly after a UFC announcement where Dana White, the organization’s president, informed us that he couldn’t facilitate a deal with Fedor Emelianenko, competitor Strikeforce has successfully pried Fedor away from the UFC.
Recent news has revealed that heavyweight star Fedor Emelianenko will now joining the Strikeforce roster, with his first fight set to take place later this fall. Both Fedor and Strikeforce benefit, making this a clear win-win.
Strikeforce scores major points in the credibility department with the addition of Fedor (one of the world’s greatest fighters) to its lineup. Additionally, securing the involvement of M-1 opens up an entirely new book of possibilities for the organization.
By aligning with M-1, there is nothing to lose. Strikeforce is up against a goliath in the UFC and has successfully worked on co-promotion deals in the past, so this should be no different. I’m guessing they really wanted to get something finalized with Affliction, but after UFC took that option away, they decided to take a chance with aligning with M-1.
Fedor benefits in the sense that fighting on Showtime will give him access to a much larger potential audience than fighting exclusively on pay-per-view does. Strikeforce’s partnership with CBS sweetens the deal even more, as exposure on a major television network is sure to score him some new fans.
From here, it’s in Strikeforce’s hands to use Fedor as a building block. If the organization can successfully recruit more top heavyweights to fight with Fedor (otherwise his matches may be boring), Strikeforce could easily gain a leg up on UFC in its quest to match the behemoth. While there are already a few talented fighters enlisted with Strikeforce (i.e. Brett Rogers and Alistair Overeem), Strikeforce still needs to add to the depth of its heavyweight division.
Don’t count on UFC to lay down and be walked on either. Dana White’s track record gives us every indication that he’ll fight back with some moves that assert his organization as the industry leader.
White had some choice words for Fedor when revealing his frustrations in failing to secure the rights to his fights. To date, White has been pretty politically correct when it comes to his words about Strikeforce; expect that to change, because a war has begun.
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