Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker and Fedor Emelianenko in happier times.
Middle Easy reports:
A Thursday just isn't a Thursday without a little bit of Fedor news that will make you throw your coffee table across the room in pure elation. MMA Ironman somehow got their hands on tomorrow's issue of Nikkan Sports which features a report about Fedor potentially facing Yoshida in his retirement fight April 25th in ASTRA. Since most of you guys probably don't speak Japanese, largely in part because there's something called 'English' that keeps getting in the way, here is my rather accurate translation of the newspaper's feature story. Now excuse me while I pat myself on the back.
An article in tomorrow's Nikkan Sports newspaper says that Yoshida's retirement fight in ASTRA will most likely be against Fedor. The exact quote is "Retirement match against Fedor, world's strongest man". According to the newspaper, Fedor's camp got in contact with Yoshida when he announced his retirement fight somewhere around February 8th and both parties have been negotiating ever since. There is a final meeting that will be held in Japan at Dream 13 which should finalize the negotiations. If nothing pans out after Dream 13, then they apparently have other fighters readily available to fight Yoshida.
If Fedor Emelianenko takes a fight against a retiring Hidehiko Yoshida he will infuriate American fans. Many have hoped to see Fedor, the USAT/SBN Consensus MMA Rankings #1 heavyweight in the world, fight #10 Fabricio Werdum on Strikeforce's CBS show. The risk-reward calculation Fedor's management would be making IF they indeed signed this fight is that there is virtually no chance that Fedor loses to Yoshida and it's an easy pay day while we haggle with CBS for more money.
Japanese fans might find Fedor vs Yoshida to be a compelling spectacle as they see the fading legend Yoshida, a gold medal olympian in Judo in 1992 and one of Japanese MMA's biggest and most respected stars take on the man universally known as the best in the world in Fedor. But American fans are largely ignorant of the historical and cultural significance of Yoshida in MMA and Japan so we'll just see Fedor ducking top competition.
A Fedor-Yoshida fight is a waste of the time of the world's greatest heavyweight and if he breaks his hands pummeling Yoshida and out for several months after this fight we will possibly not see Fedor take on quality competition in 2010.
The sad thing is, this is exactly the sort of move one expects from Fedor's management. It's very interesting that the DREAM/Strikeforce alliance apparently prevented Fedor vs Josh Barnett at DREAM.13 but that created an opening for the new ASTRA promotion to put together this fight.
Remember, this is a very unconfirmed report, but with Fedor's cryptic communications policy, every puff of smoke must be analyzed for significance.
UPDATE: An email from M-1 Global's Evgeni Kogan dismisses this rumor: