Fedor Emelianenko and his management company M-1 Global play hard ball. They are notoriously difficult to negotiate with, as Dana White's complaints about "crazy Russians" attest. Fedor's tenure in Strikeforce shows it's not just Dana that has a hard time with M-1.
Our own Mike Fagan summed up Fedor's history with Strikeforce in response to last week's news that M-1 Global is angling to get Showtime to air their M-1 Challenge series as a condition for re-signing Fedor:
Let me get this straight. Strikeforce signs Emelianenko to a three-fight deal after Josh Barnett blows up Affliction. Emelianenko dislodges Brett Rogers' head in suburban Chicago on CBS. M-1 decides they aren't happy with the contract they just signed and renegotiate with Strikeforce, thus preventing Emelianenko from a second fight on CBS against Fabricio Werdum. When Emelianenko finally meets Werdum, he taps his entire mystique away inside of a Werdum triangle. M-1 Global then insists on renegotiating (or negotiating an extension) a second time and requests that their promotional side receive four events on Showtime.
This deal, an intergalactic scoundrel once said, is getting worse all the time. Emelianenko's loss to Werdum in June should have eliminated most of the leverage M-1 Global controlled in contract negotiations. Instead, Strikeforce/Showtime, according to Kogan, are close to acquiescing to M-1 Global's demands. Amazing.
But Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker is keeping hope alive:
"I think we're moving in the right direction," Coker told MMA Junkie after the event. "It sounds like it's getting very close."
"Fedor has never been the issue," he said. "But we don't talk to Fedor. We're talking to M-1, and it's an ongoing process."
For his part, Fedor is talking to the UK Daily Star about the UFC:
"The terms of the (UFC) contract were more restrictive than what myself and my management would have liked. I currently have a contract with Strikeforce and prefer to continue that relationship. However in the worlds of sport and business I would never say never."
"Nothing has changed since my fight with Werdum. My training remains steady and my life has not changed. The elbow is fine - no problems at all."
MMA Torch's Jamie Penick comments:
If it wasn't clear before as to Strikeforce's level of power in this whole situation it should be now. The leverage in negotiations should have swung entirely into Strikeforce's hands with Fedor when he lost to Fabricio Werdum, but instead it seems M-1 Global's negotiations with Showtime have taken precedence. The fact that M-1 has been able to renegotiate this contract after each fight sure doesn't give any reason to believe they won't continue to do so as long as they can continue getting beneficial improvements to the deal for themselves. Showtime has no obligation to Strikeforce to keep them as the sole provider of MMA content, and M-1 is using Fedor to continue to finagle their way into new deals. Clearly Showtime wants to keep Fedor fighting on their network and they're willing to circumvent Strikeforce's power in this situation to keep him around.
For anyone who hasn't taken any business school classes, M-1 Global's style is known as "Soviet Style Negotiating" and here are the trademarks:
- A win at any cost negotiator will employ the following steps or tactics in their negotiations
- Taking extreme starting positions
- Claiming limited authority
- Employing emotional tactics such as exasperation, or getting angry and storming out of the room
- Viewing concessions by the adversary as a sign of weakness
- Delaying giving concessions and then only giving very small amounts
- Paying no attention to deadlines
It makes me sad, but I fear that the great potential of Russia as a hot bed of MMA talent will never be realized because of the insane business practices that come from that country.
More photos from Fedor's South Korea jaunt in the full entry.
Photos via Fedor's Facebook page.