It was a long process, but as of last week Fedor Emelianenko and his management team at M-1 Global finally inked a new deal to keep the Russian in Strikeforce for the foreseeable future.
Since Emelianenko’s loss to Fabricio Werdum in 2010, the former Pride champion has been on the sidelines waiting for a new deal to get done. Following the Werdum fight, Fedor had only one fight remaining on his Strikeforce contract and the two sides had been working ever since to negotiate a new contract.
When all was said and done, Emelianenko was locked up with Strikeforce for a total of four more fights, and according to his manager Vadim Finkelstein, it was Showtime officials who stepped in to help broker the final deal.
“It just all came together where everyone was satisfied with what needed to happen, and what needed to be worked out to get the deal done,” Finkelstein told MMAWeekly.com. “A lot of the credit goes to Ken Hershman from Showtime for stepping in and working with all the parties, and making sure all the parties needs from our side and from Strikeforce’s side were met.
“We all kind of came to a point where we reached an understanding, and Hershman was able to bring everybody together.”
Hershman, who is an executive vice president at Showtime, has worked closely with Strikeforce since bringing the promotion to the network. His input was apparently invaluable in the deal to bring Fedor back to Strikeforce.
The new deal will stretch over four total fights, which would cover Emelianenko’s full term in the upcoming Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix, assuming he makes it to the finals. Beyond that, Finkelstein sounded confident that a relationship between Emelianenko and Strikeforce could continue to grow in the future.
For now the former top heavyweight is secluded in the mountains of Russia preparing for his Feb. 12 showdown in the first round of the Grand Prix against Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva.