Emelianenko owns the spotlight as Barnett's career, Affliction crumble
Weeks don't get busier -- or nuttier -- than this last one.
A rematch between
If I missed anything, sorry. There's just not enough time in the day.
And w all this news out there, SI.com's MMA readers weren't short on opinion or questions.
It's the "moment of truth" if you pay attention to what Fedor's manager,
While the timeline might be sped up, circumstances between UFC and Fedor haven't changed all that much. Publicly, this is a battle over co-promotion. Fedor and his team say a deal to put the Russian in the UFC is possible "only within the framework of co-promotional efforts with M-1 Global."
The problem with that is, somewhere along the way, UFC soured on the idea of working with other promoters. It took some digging, but I found a quote offered by UFC owner
"We believe that there is certainly enough room for everybody to be successful in this sport, and for this sport to grow and evolve, you need to have organizations work with each other as opposed to trying to break each other down."
For a time, the UFC operated with this mindset. It lent
But the UFC's eagerness and willingness to co-promote deteriorated after it felt burned by Pride, which never returned the favor by sending any of its fighters --
So my feeling is unless Fedor backs away from his requirement that M-1 Global and UFC operate as boxing promoters might by coming together to produce a fight, I don't think we'll see the Russian in the UFC right now.
As far as other options, Strikeforce remains a definite possibility, as does a scenario where he fights on M-1 Global-produced cards. The issue there, however, is pay-per-view. Strikeforce hasn't shown it can successfully sell a card to a paying audience. M-1 suffers from a lack of brand awareness and depth. Without PPV one has to wonder how enough money can be generated to pay Emelianenko the kind of purses he's grown accustomed to over the years.
For the most part, I don't think we'll see a huge influx of fighters into the UFC. Some will matriculate, but UFC matchmaker
Let's not forget that Fedor's coming off two wins against top-10 former UFC champions. So a lot of those concerns have been addressed recently.
I haven't been shy in saying Fedor won't need the UFC to validate his career. But nothing is static in MMA and recent events have me questioning his motives relative to other fighters.
If world-class champions, the best of the best, like
Atencio, like any promoter, doesn't have control over drug testing. That's up to the regulators. And even if that did enter Barnett's head, he didn't help himself any by failing to reveal to Atencio and Affliction that the California Commission administered a drug test to him on June 25. I talked to Atencio briefly on Monday and he said Barnett never mentioned it to him. Had Barnett done so, a replacement could probably have been lined up and advertising geared towards selling the pay-per-view might have been changed in time. All speculation really.
As far as the fans, you're spot on. We should be getting ready for a tremendous heavyweight bout. Now I'm not sure we'll ever see Fedor fight Barnett. And I don't know if anyone wants it at this point. Much of the appeal disappeared when Barnett, who has maintained his innocence, was popped again.
Hit and miss.
Fans witnessed two fights between Emelianenko and UFC champs they might not have seen otherwise. Belfort was resurrected at 185 pounds. Some fighters got hefty paydays. But Affliction also bowed out of two events, putting several mixed martial artists in the position of having worked through training camps without getting paid to fight. That is unacceptable, and that is what separates the UFC from everyone else. When a fighter signs with the UFC, they know that terms of the deal will be fulfilled. They can count on that.