The Reason Fedor Signing With Strikeforce Is A Good Thing
By Chris Howie
When Affliction made the decision to cancel their last show which was scheduled for August 1st following a positive steroid test by Josh Barnett, the doors were open for any MMA promotion out there to try and sign the consensus top heavyweight in the world, Fedor Emelianenko.
Many believed the Russian would likely end up in the Ultimate Fighting Championships Octagon but, he ultimately ended up signing with Strikeforce. Hardcore and even casual fans out cried that “The Last Emperor” should have signed with the UFC. While ideally that would have been the case, signing with Strikeforce isn’t such a bad thing.
Fans clamored for a bout with UFC Heavyweight Champion Brock Lesnar, and while that is a marquee match up, there are still quite a few match up’s outside the UFC for Fedor.
Scott Coker has gone on record and stated Strikeforce has a three fight deal with Emelianenko, and they plan on having him fight three times over the next year beginning in the fall. Fedor also has a non-exclusive contract so it is likely he will fight in Japan as well. Options for him over the next year include bouts with Brett Rogers, Fabricio Werdum, Alistair Overeem, and if it were to happen in Japan, a bout with Josh Barnett.
With the possibility of all those bouts happening, this gives the UFC another year to build up their heavyweight champ in Lesnar, who only has five fights under his belt. Should Lesnar be able to continue his reign of dominance in the UFC with bouts against the likes of Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Shane Carwin, Cain Velasquez and Cheick Kongo, it will come to a point where the UFC will have to sign Fedor one way or the other.
Assuming these two heavyweights can win all their next match up’s over the next year; it could lead to a showdown in either December 2010 or Superbowl Weekend in 2011 that would likely be the biggest bout in MMA history.
Sure, everyone would have loved to see Fedor Vs. Lesnar right away this year, but give Lesnar another year of experience. Give Fedor a year to build his name up in USA through his Strikeforce contract and then, blow the roof off of somewhere like Madison Square Garden (assuming MMA gets sanctioned in NYC) when Fedor’s contract is up.
MMA isn’t going anywhere so there really isn’t a need to waste this bout so early.