M-1 Global Director of Operations Evgeni Kogan today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) that the topic hasn’t even been broached to Emelianenko or M-1 Global.
“There have been no discussions with us,” he said. “Any discussions have been solely on the other side of the Atlantic.”
Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker on Tuesday said there have been “preliminary discussions only” on the potential superfight and said the bout would not take place at an event planned for June 18 that will host the remaining quarterfinal bouts of the Strikeforce heavyweight grand prix. He did not say where, when, or with whom the discussions took place.
During an appearance the same day on MMAjunkie.com Radio, newly minted light heavyweight champion Henderson said he’d like to fight again in June or July before taking the summer off and returning at the end of the year. Although he said a meeting with the winner of an upcoming fight between light heavyweights Gegard Mousasi and Mike Kyle makes sense for his next engagement, he expressed interest in fighting Emelianenko at heavyweight.
“Obviously, he’s still one of the top guys out there in the world, and it would be a huge challenge,” Henderson said. “It would interest me to go up.”
A report from “Fighters Only” also stated that Emelianeko is considering a drop to light heavyweight for a shot at Henderson belt.
But Kogan said the frontrunner for Emelianenko’s next fight is the loser of a non-title bout between Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem and Fabricio Werdum that takes place in the quarterfinals of the grand prix.
Emelianenko vs. Overeem or Werdum would ideally take place in late summer.
“There is nothing definite yet,” Kogan said. “It’s a little bit too far out to nail down a date. What Fedor wanted to do was get back on the horse, so he felt fine and he wanted to maintain his training schedule, and, of course, with him not competing at the combat sambo championships that didn’t happen. But rules are rules, and they have to obey them.”
Emelianenko this past month suffered a second consecutive loss when doctors ruled him unable to continue a bout with Antonio Silva following the second round of their fight in the quarterfinals of the heavyweight grand prix. This past June, he was submitted in 69 seconds by Werdum in what was the first true loss in a virtually undefeated professional career spanning more than 10 years. He hinted at retirement following the loss to Silva but has since reconsidered.
That’s led to heated speculation on what lies next for Emelianenko. Two weeks prior, Kogan said the fighter would participate in a national sambo competition in Russia. But that idea was shot down by the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board, who suspended Emelianenko for a minimum of 90 days following his loss to Silva.
Many MMA observers believe there are few opportunities left to capitalize on Emelianenko’s legacy. They talk about a superfight between Emelianenko and Henderson as one of the most marketable fights Strikeforce can make at the moment. The fight’s logic in the scheme of the promotion’s matchmaking future, not to mention the pair’s respective career positions, is secondary.
Kogan, for one, is not a fan of the idea, but said Emelianenko will ultimately make the decision on whether it happens.
Until then, it’s just an interesting idea.
“The way that things work with us is that Fedor always makes the decisions,” he said. “I can’t speak on his behalf. I can say that there’s been no discussions with us about this, and so we’ve not been involved with discussions on a potential fight with Dan Henderson. To me personally, that’s not a fight that makes any sense.”