It has come down to this. M1 will not sign without co-promotion, and this is the one thing the UFC will not agree to. It's over.
Or Maybe not.
What if the UFC were to agree to co-promote, but only under certain conditions? What would those conditions need to be for the UFC to feel that they were not just creating their own competitor?
If the UFC can change their mindset on this co-promotion issue, and view it simply as the equivalent of two boxing promotions engaging in a short term joint venture, then it becomes a question for them of what M1 are bringing to the table, and that first and foremost is Fedor - the Michael Jordan of this sport.
The first condition would therefore be that the UFC would only co-promote with M1 on a fightcard that featured Fedor in a Championship bout or as the holder of the belt. As soon as Fedor loses and until he fights for the Championship again, there would be no co-promotion, for the simple reason that Fedor is the icon of this sport, because he wins.
M1 would probably insist on an immediate rematch in the event of a loss to give themselves some protection, and the UFC would probably agree to that, because if Fedor loses twice to the same guy, the other guy becomes 'the man', and Fedor could then go and do whatever he wanted, because the UFC Champion, would in the eyes of all fans, be the true champion.
The second condition is that the fight would have to be held in Russia.
Think about it. It's a substantial market and the UFC is not getting in there without a positive relationship with a Russian company...Why can't M1 be that company?
When Fedor last fought in Russia, Vladimir Putin, then President of Russia, came to watch.
This fight would be a massive deal. It would fill the biggest venue in Moscow, and the major TV station in Russia would show it live.
Russia is a huge untapped market for the UFC, and if M1 could deliver this much, the UFC could justify making this one exception, knowing that the chances of anyone like M1, ever being able to offer what M1 can offer right now, ever again, would be remote.
Fedor vs. Brock in Russia would literally be Rocky IV for real; except the Russian would be Rocky, and Lesnar would be Ivan Drago. If that doesn't capture the imagination of the mainstream press in a big way, I don't know what will.
M1 Global is already well known in Russia, but if rumours of a UFC deal with ESPN are correct, then this fight could be seen all over the world, in which case, where the fight is taking place is not as important as the exposure it will generate for M1 Global in the US and the UFC in Russia, because all M1 are after is equal branding in the marketing material produced for the event, which in itself must provide enough wriggle room for M1 and the UFC to work something out.
I know this is a fantasy, and that what I'm going to do now is deeply humiliating and fanboyish beyond the limits of delusion and cringe worthiness, but I don't care, please Vadim Finkelstein and Dana White, make this happen, everybody wants this fight, and the sport needs it.