by Ken Pishna – MMAWeekly.com
The Ultimate Fighting Championship has taken over the worldwide mixed martial arts landscape, signing a majority of the premier fighters in the sport. But there are still a few notable fighters out there that have yet to call the UFC, or anyone else for that matter, home. Chief among them is Fedor Emelianenko, nearly universally regarded as the #1 heavyweight fighter in the world.
That situation isn’t likely to remain so for much longer though, as speculation has swirled around Fedor’s contract status, or lack thereof, as of late. The hot rumor over the past few days has been that he has inked a deal with the UFC.
Not so says Reed Wallace, President of White Chocolate Management, who represents Fedor Emelianenko in the United States.
[UPDATE] “Fedor has not signed anything [as of Tuesday afternoon],” Wallace informed MMAWeekly. “He’s going to do something soon. They can’t negotiate forever.”
It’s quite obvious that the UFC would have to be the leading candidate for Fedor’s services, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t still other suitors vying for the world’s top heavyweight.
Fedor’s managers, Vadim Finkelstein and Apy Echteld, met with the UFC late last week, but a signed contract has yet to materialize. “UFC discussions went very well according to Apy,” said Wallace in reference to the meeting. Initially it seemed the UFC was unwilling to make any modifications to their contract, but it now appears there has been some movement.
“I can say that they are very close to a deal, but some last minute players have stepped up as well,” he said.
Speaking of his opinion on the interests of Fedor, Wallace continued, “I’d be happy for him to go to the UFC. He would get great exposure there. The world need’s to see Fedor fight. I get excited when I watch him. He’s the greatest. I’d just love to see him fight.”
[UPDATE] Wallace confirmed, however, that there are at least two other major players vying for Fedor. One of those is Mark Cuban, billionaire owner of the National Basketball Association Dallas Mavericks and the HDNet television network. Upon discussions with Echteld, Wallace verified that the other is an undisclosed party that has already presented a major competing offer to Fedor’s management.
Wallace indicated that he would be approaching Fedor’s management with an offer from Cuban’s group this weekend, assuming that he does not sign with the UFC or elsewhere prior.
Regardless of his contract status, Wallace did mention that Fedor will attend UFC 75 in London on Saturday, but don’t assume that his attendance is indicative of the UFC winning out amongst other suitors.
Wallace said that Fedor recently signed a sponsorship deal with Affliction, makers of the popular clothing line, and will be in attendance this weekend, along with UFC Heavyweight Champion Randy Couture, for promotional purposes.