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Fedor Emelianenko?s management team met with the UFC earlier this week in Las Vegas, Nevada, and negotiations continued into the late evening on Thursday. Unfortunately for Emelianenko and UFC fans, they left on a plane back to Russia on Friday without being able to reach an agreement. However, there only seems to be a couple issues that they have requested the UFC to think over.
Pride?s reigning Heavyweight Champion?s managers, Vadim Finkelstein and Apy Echteld, told Sherdog that even though financially, the UFC?s offer is significantly higher than what the other organizations are offering, the other organizations, such as K-1 HERO’S, EliteX, IFL, Strikeforce, and M-1, are allowing Emelianenko the ability to fight for other promotions during his contract, and are willing to guarantee his contract as well.
“The point about exclusivity, the point about his champion’s clause, and the point of cutting off the contract are the basic things we have to work on,” Echteld told Sherdog. “At the end of the day we are not talking about stupid things. For us it sounds reasonable. We are promoting ourselves; we know how it is to work as promoter, so we think we know how to treat or how to deal with a champion. Fedor doesn’t want to be compared to a nobody who is going to start fighting. He is already champion. That’s it. We want to have a little bit more respect. I think the UFC has all our points and we expect them to respond to that, not that we have to push and ask for answers.”
Since the purchase of Pride FC was finalized by Zuffa, UFC?s parent company, in March, Pride fighters have been scrambling to find new homes. The most logical move for most was to fight in the States for the UFC, the rout that current UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Quinton ?Rampage? Jackson, Mirko ?Cro Cop? Filipovic, and Current Pride Light Heavyweight and Middleweight Champion Dan ?Hollywood? Henderson chose to take.
However, when you are dubbed the Best MMA Fighter in the world amongst the MMA community, Emelianenko feels that there are certain stipulations and freedoms that he is entitled to. This has been a long and drawn out process for the UFC in trying to acquire the greatest fighter, but if they are able to close the deal, the reward will be worth the journey.
TOM?S TWO CENTS: Understandably, the UFC doesn?t want Fedor to be able to fight for other organizations, and why should they? If they are investing that much money on a fighter, a rumored Million per fight, it wouldn?t make sense for them to allow him to risk injury fighting for another organization. At the same time, if Fedor were to become UFC Champion and wind up losing a fight as the UFC champion on another organization?s card, that would simply devalue the UFC Heavyweight belt. That is a lose-lose situation for the UFC , and Team Fedor must, and I am sure does, understand that.
Team Fedor?s reasoning for wanting the luxury of fighting in other promotions is so they can better market their fighter. My question is, what organization out there is better at providing exposure and fame like the UFC? There is a reason why White is considered the modern day Don King, he can promote anything and anyone. The UFC is the crown jewel of MMA organizations, there is no other place that he can go that will allow as many eyes to be on him.
For Fedor?s exclusivity, the UFC should concede the guaranteed contract . Sure there is a steep financial risk if Fedor doesn?t perform to his previous abilities, but more than likely he will. The UFC has prided themselves on taking chances in the past, and have always come out on top. This situation should be no different. Fedor is only 29 years old entering the prime of his career, things will only get better for him at this point. Fedor is theirs to lose, and if they he doesn?t fight in the UFC, all MMA fans will lose.
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