Breaking News: Fedor Signs With Strikeforce
Where the UFC struck out, Strikeforce has hit a mammoth home run—reaching a multi-fight agreement with Fedor Emelianenko.
Financial details and the exact nature of the agreement—between the consensus top heavyweight on the planet, his management and promotion company M-1 Global, and the San Jose-based operation—are not fully known at this point, this is clearly a major move that immediately thrusts Strikeforce into full-blown competition with the UFC.
When the day began, Strikeforce was a distant second to the UFC in the North American fight game. One of few success stories outside of the UFC, an organization that has taken the slow and steady approach when it comes to growing their brand and roster.
Slow and steady just left town, and Strikeforce have significantly lessened the gap between first and second.
Succeeding where the UFC failed (or declined to go, depending on how you look at it), Strikeforce thrusts itself into the spotlight, and the framework is there for the organization to shine.
Though a concrete date has yet to be set, it is expected that Emelianenko will make his debut on Strikeforce's first Showtime broadcast. Meaning for the first time in his career, the North American audience will be able to watch "The Last Emperor" without having to drop $50 on pay-per-view.
Strikeforce say they now have "the best" male and female fighters on the planet. They certainly have the most prominent female fighter (Gina Carano) and one of the best males in the business in Fedor.
Now that he's in the fold, the obvious question becomes who does Fedor fight first?
Despite the fact that Fedor's camp lobbied for Brett Rogers when Josh Barnett was pulled from the Affliction: Trilogy main event, the only choice Strikeforce have is to put Alistair Overeem and the Strikeforce heavyweight title on the opposite side of the cage.
You simply do not have the best heavyweight in the world enter your organization to this much fan-fare (and at whatever price they've paid) to engage in a tune-up fight.
If the UFC was ready and willing to make a title fight with Brock Lesnar happen right away, Strikeforce has to be willing to do the same with Overeem.
One often overlooked aspect of Fedor's career, which must be remembered, is that every organization that has ever employed the Russian superstar no longer exists.
While I'm far from blaming Fedor for the fall of Rings, Bodog, Pride and Affliction—Strikeforce must ensure that they remain faithful to the financially-responsible model they've operate under thus far, or risk the same fate as those other organizations.
This is clearly a big step forward for Strikeforce, but the truth is this doesn't have any real impact on the UFC.
Yes, it means they will never have Fedor fight in their organization, but if they been willing to meet the demands of M-1 Global, then Fedor wouldn't be in Strikeforce today.
The UFC is still the strongest organization in the business and home of the deepest talent pool in every division, including heavyweight, even without the consensus No.1.
People are still going to spend their money on UFC merchandise and PPV events. Business will carry on just as it has all this time without Fedor—very successfully.
After a week full of speculation, leaked contract offers, and article upon article wondering where "The Last Emperor" would end up next, we got our answer today and the answer is Strikeforce.
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