Following a shocking loss to Fabricio Werdum, Russian heavyweight Fedor “The Last Emperor” Emelianenko may be making a return to competition sooner rather than later. Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker recently spoke on the Sherdog Radio Network’s Beatdown program and explained that Strikeforce had entered into negotiations this week with Fedor’s management team M-1 Global concerning his next (and last under his current contract) fight. Coker revealed that it is his hope to have Emelianenko back in the cage before year’s end and also that an opponent will be chosen within the next few weeks.
“Those discussions have started,” Coker said. “All I could tell you is that it’s going to lead to another conversation, which will lead to another conversation, so it’s going to take time, and, hopefully, we’ll have something put together in the next two to three weeks and we can make a big announcement when the next Fedor fight will occur. If it were up to me, guys, and it were a Strikeforce event, we’d have Fedor fighting before the end of the year. When you have a co-promotion, there are a lot of different needs to fill so to speak.”
Coker engaged in a very lengthy and frustrating contract re-negotiation with M-1 Global earlier this year that kept Emelianenko out of the cage for far too long; he is not expecting this next negotiation period to take anywhere near as long and and he is even holding out hope that Emelianenko will make his return before December.
“It wasn’t like last time when there were some real major material issues that were a part of the problem. I think this conversation will go much quicker than the last one, and if we all agree, then we’ll set the date,” said Coker. “He could fight as early as October or November, maybe, but it’s really up in the air right now.”
Coker has previously mentioned that he is interested in promoting a bout between Emelianenko and Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion Alistair Overeem and that it may or may not be for the title. He also mentioned Antonio “Giant” Silva and Sergei Kharitonov as possible next opponents for “The Last Emperor.” Who Emelianenko ends up facing could largely be determined by how long the negotiation period lasts as Coker said that he is unwilling to put the brakes on Strikeforce’s heavyweight division in order to wait for Emelianenko or M-1 Global.
“If the talks take too long, then we’ll move on,” he said. “We’re not waiting forever, and Alistair and Fabricio will definitely be fighting [one another] if that’s the case.”