Tapouts: Fedor Makes His Decision?

An article by Loretta Hunt at TheFightNetwork.com reports that, “PRIDE heavyweight champion Fedor Emelianenko has committed exclusively to the new ownership of M-1 Mix-Fight Championship, which has been purchased outright by an undisclosed American entertainment-related company, according to a source close to the deal who spoke on the condition of anonymity.”

Under the ownership of Emelianenko’s manager, Russian Vadim Finkelstein, the St. Petersburg-based organization held over 30 events. M-1 has been around since 1997, so if true, to say this signing is huge news is an understatement.

According to the article, when Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta purchased PRIDE in March, they found out that Emelianenko had a non-exclusive, non-transferable contract with former PRIDE owners Dream Stage Entertainment. As previously noted on Inside Fights, UFC’s Dana White had been in negotiations with the reigning PRIDE Heavyweight Champion, with hardcore MMA fans foaming at the mouth for a possible dream match between Fedor and UFC Heavyweight Champion Randy Couture. Hunt writes, “a major point of contention was White’s insistence Emelianenko sign an exclusive contract with the American promotion, which would exclude Emelianenko’s participation in Sambo competitions.”

The three-time World Combat Sambo champion is undefeated in 24 MMA fights, with one no contest, and has not competed since defeating Matt Lindland at an April 14 BodogFight event.