I'd be willing to wager a healthy sum of money this news - if true - makes Scott Coker relieved:
Specifically, sources with knowledge of the situation say M-1 Global has closed its head office in the Netherlands, that some of M-1's investors have already cut ties with the organization, that officials within M-1 know they've lost most of their negotiating power, and that overall, according to one source, the people at M-1 are "panicking."
Netherlands office: Although M-1 Global was widely perceived in the United States as a Russian company because of its close ties to Fedor, it actually considered its office in the Netherlands to be the global headquarters. But that's not the case anymore, as the Netherlands office has ceased to exist. M-1 Global knows it can't count on as much income from Fedor in the future as it could in the past, and closing the Netherlands office was a cost-cutting move. As mixfight.nl first reported, the employees of M -1 Netherlands no longer work with the organization, although it's not clear what will happen to Dutch fighters with M-1 contracts.
Losing investors: During Fedor's reign as the sport's heavyweight king, M-1 Global had some wealthy businessmen it could count on when it needed an infusion of cash. Basically, these were businessmen who were willing to lose money on an investment in M-1 just because they liked being associated with the toughest man in the world. But Fedor no longer has that allure, and as a result those investors have signaled to M-1 that they won't be infusing any more cash in the promotion.
There's more to the story, so read the entire piece. I've also contacted M-1 to get their comment on the story. I'll publish it if/when they get back to me. This is one of those stories that appears likely to evolve quite rapidly in the coming days. We'll try to keep up with each iteration.
UPDATE: M-1s' Evgeni Kogan issued this comment to me minutes ago:
Eh, that article is 100% made up. There is not an ounce of truth to it.
There is no panic, Fedor retains his status in the sport (financially and in terms of perspective). To believe any different is to be out of touch with the business reality of MMA (or any other sport for that matter).
The head office in Holland is here and isn't going anywhere anytime soon. As are the offices in Russia, Ukraine, US and the affiliates in Asia.
M-1 remains healthy and has the same leadership and investors as it has had since 1997 (making it pretty much the longest running promotion out there).
We're looking forward to promoting the Selection finals in Moscow on the 22nd and the Semis in AC on August the 7th. Challenge will take place in the fall.
I'm inclined to believe MDS, but thought I'd publish their response just the same. More to come.