Last week Mike Chia Pet revealed on MMA Fanhouse that Fedor and Josh Barnett had verbally agreed to fight each other at Affliction 3 on August 1st. Everyone parroted his story, but since then there hasn’t been any more information on the fight. Considering how flaky Affliction has been in the past, I was starting to wonder what was up. And now I don’t know whether to feel reassured or not by this statement from Fedor and his management at M-1:
“I am always 100% involved in the negotiations especially with regards to the Barnett fight,” he responded. “We discussed this fight with the whole team (trainers, coaches, management), so as a team we agreed to a fight with Barnett.”
If the fight vs. Barnett becomes official, it will put Emelianenko in a position where he could record his sixth career victory over a former UFC heavyweight champion. So how does Barnett rate with the five other former UFC heavyweight champions he’s fought previously?
“I consider Josh as one of the truly best in MMA, I think he is really in his prime right now,” he said. “Just like when I fought Cro Cop, he was in his prime as well. At that time it was one of the most anticipated fights in MMA history (and) my fight with Josh can be that as well.”
Reading between the lines, here’s what I picked up: the fight is on … if Affliction is willing to pay top dollar for what Fedor’s camp sees as ‘one of the most anticipated fights in MMA history’. Unfortunately for those of us that live in reality, Fedor vs Barnett isn’t even as marketable as another fight announced today – Rashad Evans vs Rampage Jackson. A sad fact, but a fact none the less.
Josh Barnett and Fedor aren’t exactly cheap on a good day, and I’m betting there’s several hundred thousand reasons why this fight was agreed to a week ago but still hasn’t been signed yet. I still lean towards the idea that Affliction will lock things up, but after Affliction 2.1 getting canceled and all that UFC 100 stupidity, maybe I’m just allowing my fanboy desires to overpower my ability to reason.