Signing Fedor Was a Dangerous Move for the Future of Strikeforce

TimCorrespondent IAugust 4, 2009

NEW YORK - JANUARY 20:  Heavyweight mixed martial arts champion Fedor 'The Last Emperor' Emelianenko of Russia attends the 'Day of Reckoning' press conference at Trump Tower January 20, 2009 in New York City.  (Photo by Joe Corrigan/Getty Images)

As I am sure everyone is aware, M-1... I mean Fedor...and Strikeforce have come to a three-fight deal. 

This is being lauded as a big coup for Strikeforce, but is it really? There are some major benefits, but with those benefits comes a huge element of risk. 

Based on everything we have seen and heard, you know the deal with M-1 didn’t come cheap. Co-promotion is a big deal. Strikeforce will for all intents and purposes give up a portion of their name.

This leaves me with a number of questions.

Did Strikeforce overpay to take Fedor off the market? Will Strikeforce get enough in return? How much is Fedor worth? Is M-1 taking the people at Strikeforce for all they are worth?

The signing of Fedor immediately makes Strikeforce a bigger player in MMA.  But a strong start doesn’t always lead to a strong finish. In the long run, I’m not sure how things will end up. 

Aside from Fedor, what else could Strikeforce gain from co-promotion? While Co-Promoting with M-1 made little sense for the UFC, it can make some sense for Strikeforce. They are starting with less, so they are giving up less in a 50 percent stake. The added attention may be worth the cost.

In the short term, you know this:

· Strikeforce has signed Fedor to a three-fight deal.

· Strikeforce will gain notoriety.

· M-1 will be taking a large cut of Strikeforce profits any time Fedor is on the card.

· M-1 will look to gain notoriety

We don’t know what else M-1 will bring to the table... M-1 has no name in North America and their promotional contributions may be limited. We know M-1 will use Strikeforce as a vehicle to promote their name. 

Then what? What happens after three fights and Fedor once again becomes a free agent? 

M-1 is developing a new event series that starts with "Breakthrough" at the end of this August. Is this Fedor’s eventual home? Does he re-sign with Strikeforce, or does he take his new found "American" fame right back to M-1? 

I think M-1 is the most likely candidate, we all know that is where the allegiances lie. After four more fights, Fedor may no longer be under a "promotional deal" with the organization, but he will still be a part owner. Ultimately, building the M-1 organization will be more profitable for him than anything he could do elsewhere.

This deal looks like a huge boost for Strikeforce, and it may be, but ultimately this deal is all about what M-1 gives back. M-1 will either make a whole hearted effort to make Strikeforce as big as they can or they will come aboard, take a ride and ultimately take the wind out of Strikeforce’s sails before jumping ship.

Will M-1 help make Strikeforce bigger and stronger or are they the leech that sucks Strikeforce dry?