The process to get a new deal done between Fedor Emelianenko and Strikeforce continues as the Russian fighter closes in on the final fight on his current contract with the promotion. The negotiations are still a work in progress, but Strikeforce officials are hopeful the former Pride champion will be back in the cage for them in 2011.
Fedor hasn’t fought since a June loss to Fabricio Werdum. A defeat most MMA pundits consider the Russian’s first real defeat in his historic career.
Since that time, Fedor’s management group, M-1 Global, has been in talks with Strikeforce, but nearly five months later a deal is still not done.
“As everybody knows we have a negotiation ongoing with M-1 right now, and I wish I had a simple answer, but it’s an ongoing negotiation,” Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker told MMAWeekly Radio about the deal with Fedor.
Coker sounded confident about the dealings with M-1 Global, but the pen still has not hit the paper to sign off on a new deal.
“I feel good about it, I feel good about the negotiations,” he said. “Whether you’re dealing with Dream, or you’re dealing with M-1, or any foreign company there’s always a translation issue, and there’s always a cultural issue, and there’s just a lot of barriers that will come.
“We’re trying to navigate through the waters and get a fair deal for everybody.”
Following the loss to Werdum, speculation ran wild whether Fedor would return in a rematch against the Brazilian or possibly end up in a title fight against Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem.
With Werdum on the shelf until at least the second month of 2011, Overeem fighting in K-1 in December, and the recent signing of Josh Barnett, anything is possible. Coker believes they will get a deal done, and Fedor will be back stateside next year.
“Fedor will be fighting, I want to say sometime in the first quarter of 2011. I believe that’s when he’ll be fighting in the cage,” Coker stated.
Coker did shoot down rumors about a Heavyweight Grand Prix that hit the Internet last week, saying that it was pure speculation. Whatever the future holds for Fedor, there are plenty of match-ups for him in Strikeforce when and if negotiations are settled and he comes back to MMA in the United States.