At the UFC 133 press conference it was announced by UFC president Dana White that Fedor Emelianenko has been released from his Strikeforce contract. Fedor is riding a three fight losing streak while carrying a hefty price tag and a management team with a long history of proving difficult for Zuffa to deal with. That combination makes this a much less shocking cut than the recent release of Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem.
This does, however, continue the thinning out of the Strikeforce roster and the likely eventual dissolving of the promotion once the Showtime deal hits completion.
This past weekend, during Fedor's loss to Strikeforce light heavyweight champion Dan Henderson, Dana White hit up Twitter to criticize the Strikeforce announce team's reference to Emelianenko as the "Michael Jordan of MMA." The antagonistic relationship between M-1 Global and Zuffa and Dana White's refusal to play nice even with Fedor under the Zuffa banner made this feel more like an eventuality than anything.
White also continued to criticize the media for "overrating" Fedor for years while announcing his release.
We will have much more on Fedor's release over the next few days in addition to our continuing coverage of Saturday's UFC 133 event.
Update by Brent Brookhouse:
"Fedor's contract it with Showtime," M-1 Global representative Evgeni Kogan told MMA Nation's Jonathan Snowden. "He remains a Showtime fighter, on a network which has been amazing to Fedor and the team."
"Strikeforce is not the only MMA promotion on Showtime," Kogan said. "So there are a number of options for Fedor which will be looked at. And one of those is to work with the other MMA promotion currently on Showtime."
For clarification, Dana also said that he "thinks" that the situation is that Fedor's contract was up and they didn't renew rather than a complete "release" from an existing contract.
Update 2 by Brent Brookhouse:
Ariel Helwani confirmed on Twitter that Fedor did have one remaining fight on his Strikeforce/Showtime deal.