Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker recently made an appearance on MMAWeekly Radio, where he discussed the now routinely lengthy contract negotiations that are underway between Strikeforce and top heavyweight Fedor Emelianenko. Strikeforce acquired Emelianenko’s services in November of 2009 and “The Last Emperor” has fought twice in the promotion since; defeating Brett Rogers and losing to Fabricio Werdum. Emelianenko and his management team, M-1 Global, have developed a reputation for frequently engaging in drawn-out and reportedly difficult contract negotiations with fight promotions; this situation seeming to reinforce the idea. Coker explained however, that anytime deals are being done across national and cultural lines there will be difficulties and the process will unfortunately be slowed.
“As everybody knows we have a negotiation ongoing with M-1 right now, and I wish I had a simple answer, but it’s an ongoing negotiation,” said Coker.
While there may not currently be a simple answer regarding Emelianenko’s future, Coker maintains optimism that a deal with M-1 Global will be reached.
“I feel good about it, I feel good about the negotiations,” he said. “Whether you’re dealing with Dream, or you’re dealing with M-1, or any foreign company there’s always a translation issue, and there’s always a cultural issue, and there’s just a lot of barriers that will come. We’re trying to navigate through the waters and get a fair deal for everybody.”
Though he is unable to shed light on a prospective opponent for “The Last Emperor,” Coker did reveal that the PRIDE legend will be returning to action next year.
“Fedor will be fighting, I want to say sometime in the first quarter of 2011,” Coker said. “I believe that’s when he’ll be fighting in the cage.”
Emelianenko’s last appearance came at Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Werdum this past June where he succumbed to a first round triangle choke courtesy Werdum.