Fedor Emelianenko Can Still Be Great: But M-1 Gets in the Way

Kevin SampsonCorrespondent IIIJuly 17, 2010

It’s been almost a month since Fedor’s stunning loss to Fabricio Werdum and it’s been interesting to follow the rapidly shifting heavyweight landscape. So much has changed.

For the last three years, the UFC has wanted to sign Fedor Emelianenko. Up until last month, the man was the consensus number one fighter in the world. He is one of the most successful and dominant fighters to ever compete in mixed martial arts. So what’s not to love?

Unfortunately, for the majority of those years of trying, the biggest obstacle standing in the UFC’s way was a little company called M-1 Global – an MMA promotion that Fedor happens to be partial owner of.

So what the heck is an M-1 Global?  

If you’ve never heard of them, you’re certainly not alone. On the surface, M-1 Global is just another MMA promotional company, one with a team based competition reminiscent of the International Fight League. Okay, so far so good.

One puzzling aspect of M-1 Global is their roster of fighters - all two of them: Fedor Emelianenko and Karl Amoussou. I’m not sure how that’s working out for them. I do know for a fact that they really do put on MMA events. They put on events – and for the most part nobody cares.  

Their role as an MMA promotion is largely just a secondary function for M-1 Global. Their primary role is that of the leach. M-1 Global attaches itself to bigger, stronger MMA promotions. Fedor is the bait and co-promotion with M-1 Global is the hook you don’t see until it’s too late. Every promotion who has taken the bait is taking a gamble. You would gain the services of the greatest most amazing heavyweight fighter in the world, but you risk M-1 global sucking the life out of your promotion. 

For years, the survival of this parasitic company has depended almost entirely on one fact: Fedor Emelianenko never loses.  

In the wake of Fedor’s recent loss to Fabricio Werdum, M-1 Global is apparently in big trouble.  Allegedly they’re shutting down their office in the Netherlands . Allegedly, they’re losing investors, and they're trying to survive this.

You wouldn’t know it from their public statements since that fight. M-1 Global President Vadim Finkelstein had the following to say when asked if the prospect of "The Last Emperor" competing in the UFC is still viable.

"I think yes," Finkelstein said of the possibility of reaching a deal with the UFC. "But not on the same terms they offered us before. We will not let ourselves to get owned. Fedor became very popular [already] outside the Octagon. So, long story short: 


  1. We would like to receive guaranteed payments. I know that if we agree for percents, they will cheat us. 
  2. Maybe not a co-promotion (like we offered before), but at least co-branding.
  3. They also will have to permit Fedor participating in Sambo competitions, and during our last negotiations UFC were ready for that term."


Fedor and M-1 Global’s demands for The Last Emperor’s services aren’t too hard to understand.  To put it into perspective, imagine a man who asks a woman to marry him. She accepts with the following conditions:

“You have to let my parents, grandparents, brothers, sisters, aunts and uncles all move in free of charge.”

“After they move in, you’ll have to pay them rent every month.  Fail to pay rent and the marriage is void.”

To put it mildly, the demands that M-1 Global likes to make of the UFC while dangling Fedor in front of their eyes are completely ludicrous. The UFC isn’t going to bite and everyone knows it but them. They’re either completely delusional or they’re intentionally trying to keep the UFC from taking any interest.

The reality is, M-1 Global knows that their negotiating power just evaporated and their trying to recreate it out of thin air. The game plan? Once they’ve attracted the UFC’s attention and are in negotiations with them, Strikeforce will panic and give in to whatever demands M-1 Global wants to make. Surely Strikeforce won’t risk losing the services of Fedor Emelianenko, would they?  

Unfortunately for M-1 Global, the move to strong arm Strikeforce isn’t going to work. UFC President Dana White already weighed in on the matter. “Now that he loses, now they wanna say now he'll come over [to the UFC].  Cuz he lost?  I'm done playing games with them"  

Currently, M-1 Global is trading in its leech costume for a blowfish one. If they make themselves look really, really big, maybe the UFC, Strikeforce, and everyone else will believe they’re actually important.  

We know that the UFC isn’t buying into their smoke and mirrors trick, and they’re not going to play M-1’s game.  

So what about Strikeforce?  Their agreement with M-1 Global expires after Fedor’s next fight after all. Will Strikeforce keep them or kick them to the curb?  I just checked my crystal ball and I’m seeing an image of a great big boot. Sorry M-1 Global, they aren't as desperate as you thought they were.

Everyone wonders if Fedor Emelianenko can battle his way back to reclaiming the title of, “Baddest man on the planet.”  In my opinion, he’s got the skills and toughness to do it. Without question, half the world of MMA would like to fall back in love with Fedor and the other half wants him to prove that he’s really as good as he was always hyped to be. It’s all up to Fedor and he’s in position to make a huge comeback and prove himself to the world.  

But it’s not going to happen. Wherever Fedor’s career goes from here, one thing will always remain consistent: M-1 Global always gets in the way. Always.