UFC president Dana White and boxing promoter Gary Shaw rarely agree on things publicly, but in a video recently released by FightHubTV.com, Shaw backs up White's claims about how difficult it was to deal with Fedor Emelianenko's management group, M-1 Global.
For years White had been criticized by fans and media for not dealing with Emelianenko's management. Many fans felt that White's refusal to come to an agreement was a result of arrogance, stubbornness or his abrasive attitude in negotiations.
In his video interview with FightHub, Shaw reveals that he tried to sign Emelianenko on multiple occasions but was turned away by unreasonable demands on the part of M-1 Global. Shaw explained:
I thought M-1 was very difficult to deal with. It wasn't only Fedor, they wanted to be the co-promoters and the managers, and they wanted you to put on so many Russian fighters of theirs on every show. Nobody's worth that price. Maybe if Fedor had the right management from the beginning he might have been in the UFC and been a huge star...
These claims from Shaw echo the sentiments of White, who also claimed that M-1 Global was too demanding and argued they were responsible for ruining Emelianenko's career.
While Emelianenko has made a lot of money from the past few years, dealing with the Russian hasn't been so profitable.
BoDogFight briefly promoted MMA before closing after having lost a reported $38 million.
Affliction Entertainment held two shows featuring Emelianenko and were financial failures before Josh Barnett's pullout caused the cancellation of a third and, ultimately, final straw for the promotion.
Most recently, Strikeforce's financial backers pulled out shortly following Emelianenko's second consecutive loss in the promotion, expediting Strikeforce's sale to Zuffa LLC, UFC's parent company.
Many feel that Emelianenko's failure to gain momentum in Strikeforce is a big reason for the promotion's struggles, as Strikeforce's hopes of holding a marketable pay-per-view were dashed, and without such a pay-per-view, Emelianenko wasn't worth what Strikeforce was paying (he reportedly made $1.5 million and $400,000 for his losses to Henderson Fabricio Werdum, respectively).
While Emelianenko supporters have argued that it isn't his fault that the promotions have failed, the fact that seemingly everybody who deals with him loses money should say something about how utterly futile M-1 Global is as a strategic partner and so-called "co-promoter."
Even though the facts seem to back Shaw, his opinion might come as somewhat of a surprise from MMA fans who know that White and Shaw aren't exactly on friendly terms.
Shaw has criticized White's management style, in particular in relation to his handling of Kimbo Slice.
For his part, White has criticized Shaw as a boxing promoter and went after him when Shaw was promoting MMA fights for EliteXC. When responding to one of Shaw's criticisms, White once referred to Shaw as "a moron."