Russian star Fedor Emelianenko may have washed out of Strikeforce's heavyweight Grand Prix when he lost to Antonio Silva in February, but he remains a top of the card attraction. Meanwhile Strikeforce light heavyweight champ Dan Henderson has a distinct lack of compelling challengers -- especially given Gegard Mousasi's majority draw with Keith Jardine last night at Strikeforce: Diaz vs Daley.
So an elegant solution is being considered. Scott Coker told Ben Fowlkes that Fedor vs Dan Henderson is being targeted for July or August of this year. Conveniently, July or August is the exact same timing Zuffa has floated for the first Strikeforce pay per view. Of course there are some complications:
"We asked Fedor if he'd come down to 205 [pounds], and that didn't come to a good result," said Coker. "So, you know, we're going to keep pushing and hopefully have something to announce in the next two weeks or so. Right now, the fight's not made yet. Sometimes it's the little things - and I don't want to get into the contract negotiations - but it's the little things where somebody wants this, somebody wants that."
...Coker said there is no contractual impediment to making an Emelianenko-Henderson fight happen under the Zuffa banner.
"The contract's already in place. We have a multi-fight contract with Fedor, which will continue. He will fight in July or August some time. So that's going to continue. The contract thing, it's just the details now."
Interestingly this directly contradicts what Fedor said last week:
Interviewer: Do you consider dropping to light heavyweight? And possibly fight Dan Henderson for the light heavyweight title?
Fedor: Yes I have talked about it with my manager Vadim Finklestein. But as far as I know, there is no offer made by Strikeforce to fight as a light heavyweight.
I would be very interested to know what Showtime thinks of Zuffa's plans for a pay per view. Presumably Strikeforce's existing contracts with Showtime would guarantee Showtime's participation, but there is no telling what is going on behind the scenes or how the Showtime/Zuffa relationship is progressing.
It's kind of ironic that we're talking about a Fedor vs Dan Strikeforce pay per view since that idea had originally been floated when both men signed with Strikeforce. Of course at that time the expectation was that Fedor would come in and take the heavyweight belt while Henderson would roll in, take Jake Shields' middleweight belt, move up and take the 205lb title and only then challenge Fedor. None of those plans worked out of course, but the fight still makes sense.