Suddenly, the motivation for Fedor Emelianenko‘s questionable decision to fight in Japan comes into focus. It appears as if the MMA legend will earn a guaranteed $2.5 million to fight for the yet-to-be-named Japanese promotion on New Year’s Eve.
Fedor had been in negotiations with several companies after announcing his return to MMA earlier this summer. While Fedor said that he had not spoken to UFC President Dana White directly, it was quite obvious that conversations between the two parties had occurred.
Wrestling Observer’s Dave Meltzer revealed some interesting details about Fedor’s deal:
Japanese news sources have reported the show being held at the Saitama Super Arena, which makes sense. They’ve also reported that Emelianenko will earn $2.5 million guaranteed for the show, which tells you why he didn’t sign the UFC, since it’s guaranteed and most likely he’ll face a lesser opponent than he would in UFC. UFC had been negotiating with him and it did seem they were close. UFC sources said they were under the impression Emelianenko signed a two-fight deal with Sakakibara’s group. It is believed the show is being financed by an oil-rich foreign investor who already has a stake in the MMA business. Whether he’s agreed to invest for one show, or a regular promotion, is unknown.
Fedor’s original announcement was somewhat confusing, as it took place on a Bellator MMA card. Fedor won’t actually be competing as a member Bellator’s roster as originally thought, as instead he’ll be fighting on a show that will be promoted by former PRIDE President Nobuyuki Sakakibara. However, Bellator fighters will appear on the program, as it appears to be a collaborative effort on the part of Bellator, Spike TV, Sakakibara and Fedor.
“Emanating from Tokyo, Japan, the event marks the debut of a new global MMA promotion run by former Pride President Nobuyuki Sakakibara.”
“Bellator will partner with Mr. Sakakibara on the MMA extravaganza and will have fighters from its roster participating. The event will be broadcast to Spike’s 93 million homes in the United States.”
“Fedor’s opponent and further details on the event will be announced at a later date.”
“‘We are thrilled to join forces with Nobuyuki Sakakibara and our partner Bellator President Scott Coker to give MMA fans a big reason to celebrate this New Year’s Eve – Fedor fighting FREE on Spike!’ said Kevin Kay, Spike President.”
Fedor last fought in 2012, defeating Pedro Rizzo. His choice to fight lesser competition in Japan where drug testing is also a little iffy drew criticism from fans, but for $2.5 million, it isn’t likely that Fedor cares.
[Photo by Tomokazu Kozawa/ Getty Images Sport]