Earlier this month, the MMA community received huge news that after three years, legendary MMA fighter Fedor Emelianenko would be returning to active competition. After the announcement was made, social media exploded with chatter in which many MMA fans, figureheads, and fighters gave their two cents. Frank Mir probably gave the most interesting opinion when he said it would “be an honor” to fight against “The Last Emperor” in a match.
Needless to say, if UFC were to make an Emelianenko vs. Mir match possible, it would be a huge draw for the promotion. Unfortunately, there was one issue that prevented such a match impossible to happen: Fedor Emelianenko and UFC’s issues with each other. That is no longer the case as Emelianenko’s manager claims there’s a “big chance” that the returning MMA fighter will sign with UFC.
According to Fox Sports, Fedor Emelianenko’s manager, Vadim Finkelchtein, partook in an interview with Submission Radio. Reportedly, Finkelchtein sent signals that suggested the issues that prevented Emelianenko from signing with UFC in the past are no more. One such issue was UFC President Dana White’s supposed disrespect towards Emelianenko. Finkelchtein likened such to simple promotion.
“Dana talked a lot. [He] talked a lot about Fedor, about Vadim, and he talked bad. But Fedor understands that it all was just PR. He’s not in a bad relations with Dana and he doesn’t feel anything bad about him.”
However, the aforementioned isn’t actually the true issue preventing Fedor Emelianenko from signing with UFC. It is a legal one. Previously, Vadim Finkelchtein was an M-1 Global promoter. His previous modus operandi for any promotion signing Emelianenko was required co-promotion, as reported by MMA News. That means if UFC wanted Emelianenko, they would need to promote M-1 Global. That is no longer the case as detailed by Finkelchtein.
“Well, when it comes to M-1, we are not really interested in any kind of co-promotion. M-1 is a self-contained, European promotion. M-1 doesn’t really need any co-promotion.”
In the end, it comes down to one thing when it comes to Fedor Emelianenko fighting in the UFC: money. If Dana White sweetens the pot enough, Emelianenko will follow, as detailed by Uproxx.
“I think UFC have a big chance to sign Fedor. It depends on what offer they will make. If Dana would not only talk, but do some things [and] will make a good offer to Fedor, they have a big chance then.”
As of now, there are no reports if Fedor Emelianenko has signed with any MMA promotions. It should be noted, however, that Emelianenko returning doesn’t mean he’ll be competing any time soon. There is the possibility that he has to shake off the ring rust before even thinking of stepping into a cage competitively. Such a case does favor UFC though because it gives them time to negotiate.
[Image via Tomokazu Tazawa/Stringer/Getty]