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Rumors of Fedor Emelianenko vs Brock Lesnar in the UFC Swirl as Strikeforce Fails to Control the Narrative

The controversial Gerry Millen has apparently NOT been let go by Fedor's management company.
The controversial Gerry Millen has apparently NOT been let go by Fedor's management company.

Poor Strikeforce is overmatched at every turn it seems. First their rather anemic live gate at Strikeforce : Miami drew heat from Zach Arnold:

Recently, there were reports regarding the lousy business that the Strikeforce event did in Florida on Pro Bowl Weekend. The Observer reported a gate of around $320,000 and only $8,000 of that was on merchandise sales. $8,000. Holy $^%! When you take a look at the payroll for fighters on the show and how much some of the talent cost, it is real hard to see how the math proved to be favorable after this event was over.

The number to focus on is that $8,000 merchandise number. That is atrocious. It’s illuminating on a couple of levels:

  1. Strikeforce has no brand power and people don’t watch the Strikeforce shows because it’s Strikeforce. This is a long-term losing strategy.

    The quandary SF is in is that a move to PPV will not likely prove to be a winner if they simply don’t have the brand power to pull it off. You’re left with CBS/Showtime financing and if it requires heavy gimmicks to attract some attention, then you can’t build long-term brand power with constant short-term fixes (see: Herschel Walker). When various sports media outlets covered Walker’s fight and the Rex Ryan middle-finger incident, ESPN commentators and hosts kept calling it "the Miami MMA show." Strikeforce as a brand was not on anyone’s mind.

  2. I remember doing a long transcription of an interview Dan Henderson did on Sherdog right after he signed with Strikeforce and he mentioned that one of the big attractive points he saw with SF was their ability to let him sell Clinch Gear products at SF shows. Well, if SF is generating $8,000 for merchandise at a show, all I can say is that selling Clinch Gear merchandise will not prove to be a wildly profitable venture for him.
And then in the absence of the news everyone is waiting to hear -- the date, broadcast venue and opponent for Fedor Emelianenko's next fight -- crazy rumors are swirling so loud they have to be debunked. Mike Chiappetta at MMA Fighting described the news vacuum and revealed that Fedor Emelianenko won't begin training until he is given a fight date:
While the pairing of Emelianenko and Werdum is expected to materialize, another source told MMA Fighting that with eight weeks remaining until the possible fight date, Emelianenko has not yet begun his training, and is not expected to do so until he gets official word of the date. The source said Emelianenko would prefer eight weeks of notice, but could still emerge fully prepared with six weeks.
Earlier this week, a wishful thinking rumor emerged on the  UG forum saying that because Fedor and M-1's agreement with Strikeforce guarantees his fights will be aired on CBS, that contract is void and the UFC is in negotiations to book Fedor vs Brock Lesnar in July. That rumor was virulent enough to get officially denied:

Fedor Emelianenko not fighting on the April CBS card and Jerry Millen released from M1 rumors debunked:

"As Vadim Finkelchtein just told me in a live telephone conversation no changes regarding the participation of Fedor Emelianenko in his fight in April, and about Jerry Millen and M-1, no changes. There is no understanding of the source of misinformation."

Then Chris Pappas of Nashville MMA emerged with this rumor on his twitter feed: 

"Just to recap. Strikeforce in Nashville 4/17. CBS. No Fedor. Hendo vs Shields. Good chance Herschel Walker and Bobby Lashley on card."

All of these rumors are most definitely NOT to be taken seriously, but they show the way that mis- and disinformation can multiply when a promotion like Strikeforce isn't laying out a clear narrative by making official event announcements in a timely manner.

More Strikeforce in April Coverage