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Dana: "It's Time To Bring Fedor To See Lesnar Smash Him"
A heavyweight fight between Fedor Emelianenko and Brock Lesnar is the bout most mixed martial arts fans want to see, but contractual obligations and medical problems are likely to prevent a showdown between the two for another year, Emelianenko's camp said Monday.
Emelianenko survived a cut nose Saturday to retain his unofficial standing as the top MMA heavyweight in the world by defeating Brett Rogers in a second-round technical knockout. He closed the victory with a stand-up, right-handed punch, then pounced on Rogers to deliver a left-right combination on the canvas before the referee ended the fight.
Emelianenko-Rogers headlined CBS' "Saturday Night Fights" card of four bouts promoted by Strikeforce/M-1, with a near-capacity crowd of 11,500 filling the Sears Centre near Chicago.
The TV ratings are not final, but early numbers show the Strikeforce fights drew at least 3.8 million viewers, and a 267% increase in the number of males aged 18-34 who usually tune in for Saturday night programming, CBS said.
Lesnar, with a record of 4-1, is heavyweight champion of the rival, and more dominant, Ultimate Fighting Championship. A few months ago, UFC failed to reach a deal with Emelianenko for multiple fights.
Scott Coker, Strikeforce chief executive, said because Saturday's fights delivered "those 18-34 male [viewership] numbers in a big way," CBS will televise future cards. Emelianenko earned $400,000 on Saturday night. A CBS spokesman said no decision has been made on whether the network would telecast another Strikeforce card, although Saturday's bouts drew new viewers to the network.
Yet, Dana White, president of UFC, called the Strikeforce's overall ratings Saturday a disappointment.
"CBS would be out of their mind to put that rinky-dink [Strikeforce] . . . on the air again . . . and without that backing, [promoters] won't have the money to pay [Emelianenko]."
But Emelianenko (31-1-1) still owes Strikeforce at least two more fights, possibly more with options, Coker said.
The Russian heavyweight agreed to a Strikeforce deal when his promotional company, M-1 Global, failed to reach agreement with UFC. The Emelianenko negotiations collapsed, in part, because UFC rejected M-1's push to co-promote an Emelianenko event.
After those talks ended, UFC announced a Lesnar fight against UFC contender Shane Carwin scheduled for Nov. 21. But Lesnar became ill and was diagnosed with mononucleosis, causing an indefinite delay of the Carwin bout.
Emelianenko, 33, also is dealing with health issues. He suffered a fracture and tendon damage in his left thumb, and a fractured nose in the Rogers fight, Coker said. Emelianenko stopped in Los Angeles on Monday to be treated for the injuries.
"[The hand injury] could've been from that blow when he had Brett on the mat at the end," Coker said. "We're hearing he could be out for four to six months."
Coker will use Emelianenko's layoff to boost name recognition in the U.S. of Strikeforce's heavyweight champion, Alistair Overeem, 29, an MMA veteran with a 31-11 record that includes losses to former UFC light-heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell and current UFC contender Mauricio "Shogun" Rua.
England's Overeem will headline a Strikeforce card on Showtime early next year, and he is the favorite to be Emelianenko's next foe, Coker said.
Meanwhile, public clamor for an Emelianenko-Lesnar bout is being noticed by promoters.
Jerry Millen, M-1 vice president, said Emelianenko is free to fight Lesnar if UFC drops its demands regarding co-promotion. Millen said the more-experienced Emelianenko would "smash" Lesnar, a former college wrestling champion and World Wrestling Entertainment performer whose "ranking looks manufactured."
Added Millen: "Fedor's not ducking anybody. If UFC wants to prove it has the best fighters, step up and co-promote. Fedor just wants to be treated fairly. The UFC business model is to own the souls of their fighters. Fedor doesn't have to do that, and if the fans scream loudly enough, we can make that happen."
UFC's White countered that a CBS retreat could cause Emelianenko to realize the UFC is where the big money is. White said he'd be happy to extend a contract to Emelianenko to prove UFC has the world's best heavyweight.
"The guy just got his face smashed in by Brett Rogers. Do you know what Brock or [UFC heavyweights] Frank Mir and Cain Velasquez would do to Brett Rogers?" White said. "It's time to bring this guy [Fedor] in, to see Brock Lesnar smash his head."
I got faith this fight will happen
Dana is so funny ))) Brock is just a heavy bag for Fedor. He's not even a fighter! Yeah, he's big but his fight technique is nothing.
good point about paying Fedor, not a coincidence everybody goes broke co-promoting with M1, not happening in the UFC 100% positive of that so M1 can stop trying to bait fans into thinking its a possibility. If they want to drop the demand i think the UFC will play ball, but not on a one fight deal, the UFC doesnt do that...
As for "owning your soul".... if getting paid more then everybody else with special priviledges to fight sambo whenever he wants for a THREE fight deal he could walk away from very rich is "owning your soul" then i think every fighter wants their soul owned...
If ppl really want Fedor to fight Lesnar or be in the UFC, the fastest route is to NOT support any org he is in so they go broke,i dont think many more will spring up to try and co-promote with M1 and pay Fedor 400k+ a fight when he flat out cant get ppl to outside of his hardcore fanbase to watch.
This fight will happen but it will be too late and Brock or Fedor will already lose and then the meaning of this match is pretty much lost and doesn't mean much anymore. That's really unfortunate but that's how I see it going down. Personally, I see Brock losing befor Fedor (assuming Fedor stays with StrikeForce where he's pretty safe from losing to any of their heavyweights, no offense).
Dana has said it befor you have to have 2 hot fighters fight befor the steam goes away and one of them loses popularity from a failed drug test or just from a devasting loss, neither of these 2 can afford to have any of this so that's why they need to fight ASAP if any company wants to make the most out of this.
M1 wants what M1 wants and Dana wants what Dana wants. They want 2 completely different things and Dana isn't the type of person to budge to co-promote and M1 isn't the company to budge and just sit backstage with their only gem in the cage.
It's a rough situation but that's how it is.
Absolutely agree with you.
i dont think this fight is ever going to happen, personally.
but one thing i take from thsi article mroe than others is the 'put that rinky dink promotion back on the air' line. Seems to me that the UFC would be a-ok with the deal CBS struck with SF, for themselves. Their complaint with the HBO deal was always that they wanted to use their own broadcasters... keep it a UFC broadcast, not a HBO broadcast. this seems to be the very deal that SF struck with CBS... maybe the UFC is eyeing CBS as their network affiliate, setting the ground work for that push.
What exactly is co-promoting? Does M1 want a cut of the profits and/or want their name mentioned in the advertisements and fight build up?:confused02:
UFC and M1 Global Present UFC 420 (Nick)Diaz vs Hughes (what you cant smoke before church??)
UFC risked alot of $ building the brand. Why would they give half of it away for one fighter??
I now know that Alistair Overeem is from England. Thanks LA Times, and keep an eye out for a visit from Ireland's Bas Rutten; he may want to have a talk with you.
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