That’s right, ladies and gentleman. Fedor Emelianenko will take the next step in his journey to woo the American audience by fighting under the Strikeforce banner. Now that all the speculation is over, let’s take a look at the pros and cons of the situation.
1. We will not be subjected to Fedor fighting cartoon characters and pro wrestlers in Japan. That would have been embarassing for all parties involved, so let’s be thankful it’s not happening.
2. We will be able to watch Fedor fight for little or no money. Showtime is around $10 a month in most markets while CBS is free. Less money spent on pay-per-view means more money in my pocket which means your mother might be getting a nice steak for dinner as opposed to Wendy’s.
3. Scott Coker and company have shown over the years that they know how to promote a goddamn mixed martial arts show. That means Fedor might be — gasp — marketed in a halfway intelligent manner.
4. Fedor fighting in a main event on network television will do a LOT more for the mainstream acceptance for our sport than previous attempts by companies I will not name promoting fighters I will not name. (Hint: I’m talking about EliteXC and Kimbo Slice.)
5. This could spark the beginning of a real war over fighters. If Fedor continues to be successful under the Strikeforce banner, there are going to be a slew of fighters that might consider jumping ship in order to fight the top heavyweight in the world. This is a pro for the fighters because the competition will only help increase their salaries and a pro for the MMA world because organizations will be pushed to put on even bigger cards to out-do each other.
6. Fightlinker chum Esther Lin will be able to fulfill her lifelong dream of photographing large Russian men for a living.
1. Fedor vs. Brock is not happening. Yeah, we already knew that, but now it’s official. And that sucks donkey dick. Fedor fighting guys like Brett Rogers, Alistair Overeem, and Fabricio Werdum is cool and all, but it doesn’t to compare to the awesomeness of “The Last Emperor” being matched up with the UFC’s current murderer’s row of heavyweights.
2. If Brock continues to win, this could signal the beginning of the end for Fedor’s reign as the top heavyweight on the planet, no matter how you feel about Fedor and how you feel about Brock. For argument’s sake, if Fedor goes and beats Brett Rogers and then Alistair Overeem while Brock beats Shane Carwin followed by Mirko Cro Cop, we will have ourselves a legitimate predicament. This is a con for Fedor for obvious reasons and a con for the MMA world because we’ll have two men with a legitimate claim for the top spot with no way of settling it — a problem that boxing has experienced many times over.
3. Many members of the mainstream press are going to view this as one of the best fighters in the world signing with a minor league team. It will be viewed as Tom Brady going through an intense, public negotiating process with the Patriots only to sign with an Arena Football League team. In many ways, this view isn’t exactly incorrect.
4. As friendly as UFC-Strikeforce relations have been in the past, this will likely signal the end of that. That is not a good thing for Strikeforce.
5. This could spark the beginning of a real war over fighters. If Fedor continues to be successful under the Strikeforce banner, there are going to be a slew of fighters that might consider jumping ship in order to fight the top heavyweight in the world. While this was previously mentioned as a positive, it’s also a negative because it could mean a significant amount of top ranked fighters in different organizations unable to compete with each other.
This acquisition — the biggest in Strikeforce’s short history — will only help to boost the organization’s profile. A card on CBS featuring the Russian heavyweight will do wonders for mixed martial arts as a sport. At the same time, Fedor will lose sometime in his next three fights. I said it. Even if no high level UFC fighter jumps ship and Fedor fights Rogers, Overeem, and Werdum in a row, he will at some point suffer a loss and all of his mystique will be gone. Yeah, I said it. As unstoppable as Fedor has been throughout his career, you would be hard pressed to find a stretch where has fought three fighters as tough as those men in a row. Strikeforce won’t be feeding him circus attractions or middleweights.