M-1: Fedor Not Offered $30 Million

By Loretta Hunt Jul 30, 2009
M-1 Global is denying a report that Fedor Emelianenko turned down a six-fight $30-million deal this week to join the UFC’s heavyweight ranks.

CBS Radio host Carmichael Dave reported Wednesday that Emelianenko had turned down an agreement that would have paid him $5 million per fight. However, Joost Raimond, CEO for M-1 Global, called the report “completely ludicrous” and said negotiations never even reached the point where the number of fights contracted for Emelianenko was decided.

“I can say that the guaranteed -- and the word ‘guaranteed’ is of great importance here -- the guaranteed offer made by the UFC is less than what Fedor made before,” Raimond said. “The five-million (per fight) is way, way, way out of range. Half of that is even way out of range of what they offered.”

Raimond was not present at the meeting that took place between UFC and M-1 management in Los Angeles earlier this week, but he said he was debriefed shortly afterward. M-1 and UFC officials, including president Dana White, reconvened the next day via teleconference call, where M-1 presented a counteroffer that included co-promotion. No written contact was ever presented.

M-1 President Vadim Finkelstein and Emelianenko were en route to Russia Thursday and could not be reached for comment. UFC officials told Sherdog.com that White is also traveling and their earliest comment would come Friday during a media conference call.

Raimond confirmed that M-1 Global had been presented with the possibility to receive a cut of pay-per-view profits in addition to Emelianenko’s guaranteed pay, but he said no other profit-sharing incentives were presented.

“And there were a number of provisions attached to that offer that made it very much less interesting,” Raimond said.

Many of those provisions involved the branding of M-1 within the UFC organization, according to Raimond.

“We made it clear that Fedor, now and forever is part, even part owner, of M-1 and those two cannot be separated,” Raimond said. “If the rest of M-1 is excluded from any kind of deal, it makes the deal difficult.”

Raimond said a title shot against heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar –- in Emelianenko’s first fight or otherwise -- was not specified during the talks. (UFC President Dana White has publicly stated the Russian would challenge for the title in his first bout with the promotion, though.) Raimond also confirmed that the UFC conceded to allow Emelianenko to continue to compete in sambo, of which he is a national champion and spokesman, and noted during the meeting that the fighter was free to wear M-1 clothing.

“That’s like telling someone they’re allowed to eat,” said Raimond, suggesting it wasn’t a significant concession.

Raimond noted that the M-1 team was disheartened to learn that “unsubstantiated rumors” had been disseminated, and that Internet readers were willing to believe them at face value.

“Sometimes the fans don’t realize that there is a business to run and all these statements, ‘These M-1 idiots, why don’t they just give Fedor to the UFC because they’ve offered him the best money?’ This is a completely unsubstantiated rumor that the UFC has offered the best money for Fedor ever. This is just not the case.”

Raimond emphasized that negotiations with the UFC had been fruitful, even though the fundamental disagreement over co-promotion between the two organizations remains.

“We had a very professional, productive and respectful meeting with the UFC,” Raimond said. “I think both parties walked away (knowing) even though a deal wasn’t made, that a very decent meeting was had.”
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