Denying a published report Tuesday by the Los Angeles Times, M-1 Global officials told SI.com that Fedor Emelianenko and the Ultimate Fighting Championship are not close to finalizing a deal that would bring mixed martial arts' top heavyweight in the Octagon.
"I can give you a guarantee it's not accurate," said Apy Echteld of M-1 Global, a St. Petersburg, Russia-based promotion and management company of which Emelianenko is an equity stakeholder.
According to the Times' report -- which referenced an unnamed source unaffiliated with the UFC and "with information about the negotiations" -- UFC president Dana White was set to announce the signing of Emelianenko on Friday. The source also said negotiations between the top MMA promoter and the Russian champion's camp were "very civil," and that both groups were discussing details on the pending public announcement.
Echteld declined to comment on negotiations between M-1 Global and the UFC, which are rumored to be taking place Tuesday in Los Angeles. He pointed to a press conference Wednesday in Anaheim, Calif., for "important" news on Emelianenko's fate.