by Ken Pishna & Chad Edward – MMAWeekly.com
Fedor Emelianenko – currently ranked as the No.1 fighter in both MMAWeekly.com’s top ten heavyweight fighters and Yahoo! Sports’ top ten pound-for-pound poll – has been the subject of much rumor and speculation in recent months.
His signing with the new M-1 Global mixed martial arts promotion put much of that talk to rest, but it all sparked up again when speculation about him fighting in Japan on New Year’s Eve started circulating.
That talk can now be put to rest as well.
“No. It’s not going to happen,” said M-1’s president and CEO, Monte Cox, of the proposed fight.
“There was an offer. We looked at it. We tried to see if it was possible,” he admitted. “But in the end, there just wasn’t enough time to pull it off.
“It wasn’t a bad idea. It was kind of planned to be a sort of goodbye to Pride fans for Fedor.”
Much of the speculation came about due to a letter from Emelianenko to his Japanese fans that was translated to English and posted on Mix-Fight Championship’s Russian website.
The letter began, “Your wishes come true when you ask for them come New Year’s Eve,” and later continued, “I contacted M-1 Global management and received their complete support in my desire to continue the tradition of fighting in Japan on New Year’s Eve.”
According to Tatame.com, an offer had also been extended to Ultimate Fighting Championship veteran Pedro Rizzo to oppose Emelianenko in the bout.
Although M-1 is still working on putting all the pieces in place before it announces a definitive date for its first event, Cox said that the plan currently stands for Emelianenko’s next fight to be at M-1’s U.S. debut.
“We’re tentatively thinking February (for M-1’s first event and Emelianenko’s next fight). Obviously things can change, but that’s the plan,” stated Cox.
Emelianenko is competing this week in the World Combat Sambo Championships in Prague, Czech Republic. His last mixed martial arts fight was a submission victory over Matt Lindland on April 14 in St. Petersburg, Russia.