As Fedor Emelianenko prepares for his return to the Strikeforce cage in February, his management company at M-1 Global are in the planning stages for expansion into the United States as well, via a potential new TV deal and further co-promotion.
M-1 Global has co-promoted shows with Strikeforce each time Fedor has fought, but now it appears with the Russian’s new four-fight deal, M-1 Global will also be expanding its work with the San Jose, Calif.-based promotion.
According to M-1 Global’s Vadim Finkestein, the company is planning to co-promote shows with Strikeforce in the future even when Fedor isn’t involved. They are also in the process of working on new M-1 Global shows on their own for 2011.
“We’re currently busy with a lot of our own shows for this year alone in 2011. We’re planning on eight M-1 Challenge shows, plus a lot of M-1 Selection shows in a lot of different countries,” Finkelstein told MMAWeekly.com.
“Beyond that, we do plan on doing some co-promotion as well, not just when Fedor fights, but even probably not on the next show, but the show after that, we’ll have some M-1 fighters on the co-promoted show with Strikeforce as well.”
The expansion is a first between M-1 Global and Strikeforce.
This also leads to the current talks between M-1 Global and Showtime, which Finkelstein says has been ongoing for sometime now. They hope to seal a TV deal with the network at some point this year.
“It’s something that’s separate, but something that we’ve been discussing for a long time with Showtime, separate from the M-1 Global participation on the Fedor shows,” Finkelstein disclosed. “We have our product M-1 Challenge, which we’ve been harvesting and developing for a couple years now, and Ken Hershman himself flew to Russia and saw one of our shows, saw some of the fighters that we have under our banner.
“It’s something that’s been on parallel tracks, we’ve been discussing for quite a while and, in fact, something that’s not completely done in terms of having these M-1 Challenge shows on Showtime, but it’s certainly something we’ve come much closer to. Hopefully, we’ll be able to conclude that separate business with Showtime.”
As far as timelines when a deal could be finalized, Finkelstein wouldn’t speculate, but he did allude to something happening sooner rather than later.
“We’re almost there,” he said.
The next co-promoted show between M-1 Global and Strikeforce will be the card headlined by Fedor Emelianenko on Feb. 12 in New Jersey, which will be broadcast on Showtime.