Could It Be Succesful?

Adam Swift has a nice long post about Fedor/Randy and cooperation over at MMA Payout.  I think the overall gist of the column is right:  The damage from letting another group do this fight is bigger than the potential damage of running the fight and Fedor winning.  However, I think he assumes too much in terms of how big the fight will be if another group does it:

Couture-Fedor, with the proper television build, is the biggest fight on the horizon in the industry....Given the names rumored to be involved and the possibility of strong television support, I believe Couture-Emelianenko has a strong chance to become the first successful non-UFC pay-per-view in the history of the industry.

As of right now, television is the key.  M-1 has no meaningful television.  Last year, Fedor/Lindland, which had tons of internet and hardcore fan hype, did an abysmal 15,000 buys, and lost a ton of money.  Randy is obviously a bigger name than Lindland, but I find it highly unlikely that the show will do any sort of big number.  The highest I could imagine is something like 80,000, which would be a HUGE money loser given the money necessary to put the show together.    

I think the rumors M-1 people spread about TV interest from places like ESPN are complete bullshit.  As far as we know right now, M-1 "global" is Fedor and a few of his buddies.  I can't be sure of the ESPN or HBO rumors, but a relative of mine that is a higher up at NBC told me they have "no interest in putting on some unknown group."  I don't expect them to make it onto any major TV anytime soon.  If the fight happens the hype would probably be exclusively on the internet and HDnet.  

I also think that Fedor's team and M-1 are every bit as much an obstacle to co-promotion as Dana is.  If Fedor came into the UFC for a fight and lost, his value would be so far diminished as to eliminate his drawing power almost entirely.  He would be "just another fighter", and it would be the end of M-1.  I'd be surprised if they even want the fight right now.    

Another obstacle to this fight happening is the possibility that the UFC will not crown a new heavyweight champ.  If that is the case, Randy will still be champ at the end of july, and the champions clause will kick in, extending his commitment by another year.  I have a feeling this will be a long and protracted conflict.

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