M-1 Global Denies Rumors of UFC Deal With Fedor Emelianenko

Fedor Josh Gross reports:

"I can give you a guarantee it's not accurate," said Apy Echteld of M-1 Global, a St. Petersburg, Russia-based promotion and management company of which Emelianenko is an equity stakeholder.

...

Echteld declined to comment on negotiations between M-1 Global and the UFC, which are rumored to be taking place Tuesday in Los Angeles. He pointed to a press conference Wednesday in Anaheim, Calif., for "important" news on Emelianenko's fate.

From an earlier post by Josh Gross discussing Zuffa's sour history of working with other promotions:

...I found a quote offered by UFC owner Lorenzo Fertitta prior to UFC 31 in May of 2001 when he described Zuffa's vision for the growth of MMA:

"We believe that there is certainly enough room for everybody to be successful in this sport, and for this sport to grow and evolve, you need to have organizations work with each other as opposed to trying to break each other down."

For a time, the UFC operated with this mindset. It lent Chuck Liddell to Pride three weeks after he knocked out Kevin Randleman at UFC 31. Liddell also participated in Pride's historic light heavyweight grand prix in 2003. His presence, made possible by cooperation between promoters, helped contribute to an amazing tournament.

But the UFC's eagerness and willingness to co-promote deteriorated after it felt burned by Pride, which never returned the favor by sending any of its fighters -- Kazayuki Fujita, Kazushi Sakuraba, Wanderlei Silva were all discussed -- into the Octagon. As simple as co-promotion sounds, we're talking about jumping through enough hoops to force a Border Collie into a nap.

You really can't blame Dana and the Fertittas for not having much of an appetite for partnering with foreign fight promoters. Not only did PRIDE burn them -- repeatedly -- with empty promises to loan fighters like Wanderlei and Sakuraba, but Zuffa's infamous 'less than' $70 million purchase of PRIDE turned out to be the biggest burn of all.

There is one silver lining. Gross also reports that Vitor Belfort had an exclusive world-wide contract with Affliction and his contract will transfer directly to the UFC. Vitor vs Wanderlei II isn't quite Fedor vs Lesnar, but it's certainly something to look forward to.

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