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« | Home | »

Update on negotiations between Fedor & UFC

By Zach Arnold | September 14, 2007

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By Zach Arnold

M-1, the promotion operated by Vadim Finkelstein (Fedor’s backer), has announced some news regarding their contract negotiations (on behalf of Fedor) with UFC.

According to the M-1 office, Finkelstein and UFC negotiated terms of a contract that would allow the PRIDE Heavyweight champion to fight in the Octagon. M-1 claims that the negotiations were a success and that the parties agreed to what the terms of the UFC contract would be. However, M-1 claims that when UFC sent the contract to their office, the terms of the deal were ‘absolutely different’ than what had been negotiated and that management did not agree on what was stated in the contract. This is why, according to M-1, Fedor has not signed a contract with UFC.

Topics: MMA, Media, PRIDE, UFC, Zach Arnold | 42 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

42 Responses to “Update on negotiations between Fedor & UFC”

  1. SamScaff says:

    Wow. That sucks. Anyone wanna speculate on what provisions were added by Zuffa? Or what the hell went wrong?

  2. [...] ?ród?o Podziel si? informacj? (Wykop i Gwar): These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages. [...]

  3. jgass says:

    UFC has to get this deal done. They are the only group outside of Russia that it makes sense for. They have the funds to pay him without bankrupting the company and the marketing muscle to get him over. If he were to sign with IFL or EXC, wouldn’t it break them? By the way, has anyone noticed that Fox has been pumping the Best of Fedor Pride special? Interesting timing. Jeff

  4. 45 Huddle says:

    Fedor is a bad signing for any company besides the UFC at this point. He has no name value in the states. The only reason the UFC would want him is to make their Heavyweight Championship as legitimate as possible. It would also give them legit true world champions at HW, LHW, & WW.

  5. jgass says:

    I agree. The UFC needs him to remain top promotion. I believe he can be a massive draw here, but the promotion that hires him needs to be able to foot the bill for a while before he gets over with the fans. I don’t think it will take long.

    By the way, does anyone else think that EXC buying all these promotions is a bad idea? The way I see it, these smaller promotions were successful (I am assuming they were successful financial here) due to the diligence, drive and effort of a few key people I would imagine. I have never promoted but I trained under a guy who promoted his own kickboxing shows and it was a huge undertaking. If EXC takes them over, does this remove those key people from the reins of the smaller promotion? Will the former owners, now managers, have the same motivation? If they do not run them separately, will EXC management let the smaller promotions wither on the vine?

    Has Rumble on the Rock put on a show since EXC purchased them?

  6. Body_Shots says:

    Well, if they agreed to terms and a revised contract is the only thing holding the deal up – I guess you can be optimistic about it getting done sometime in the near future.

  7. David says:

    All that Dumbass White needs to do is use leyagamuth’s Fedor highlight, oh wait, his henchman took it off of YouTube a long time ago, idiots!

    If they show a Fedor highlight at the beginning and end of their next pay per view, that would be a good marketing scheme.

    THAT would get people talking. Kind of like in the WWF when they always put on that orange light and all those rumors came around about that new dude who I don’t even remember his name, but thats because he fought once and then did some crappy announcing.

    If White doesn’t sign Fedor I will lose most of my hope for him bringing the sport further. I am not surprised at ALL that Dana switched the contract up on the Ruskis, not a doubt that Vadim is telling the truth. Get those KGB on White quickly!

  8. AS says:

    I have the latest from Dave Meltzer on Fedor’s negotiations with the UFC at:

    http://mmapayout.blogspot.com/2007/09/latest-on-ufcs-negotiations-with-fedor.html

  9. Bryan says:

    Fedor has no name value in the United States? No name value as in none? That’s funny because I seem to recall attending a PRIDE FC event in the United States that featured some 20,000 people cheering at the mere sight of his image on the giant tv screen. I also recall them chanting his NAME and being worked into a frenzy when he came out to fight. Yeah, NO name value there.

    If Fedor’s name was really worthless, why does the UFC mention it so often?

  10. John says:

    Anyone else terrified that Fedor will get cage fright and loses like some other notable former pride fighters.

  11. Rollo the Cat says:

    “edor has no name value in the United States? No name value as in none? That’s funny because I seem to recall attending a PRIDE FC event in the United States that featured some 20,000 people cheering at the mere sight of his image on the giant tv screen. I also recall them chanting his NAME and being worked into a frenzy when he came out to fight. Yeah, NO name value there.”

    Maybe you can also recall the buyrate for that PPV?

  12. Manos says:

    “Some 20,000 People…”

    More like 12K, but whatever.

  13. AS says:

    At or below 30,000 I believe for the buyrate. The total attendence was about 12,000, which included a lot of comps and out of the country guests.

  14. SamScaff says:

    Dont forget that Goldberg and Rogan have been throwing Fedor’s name out consistently in recent broadcasts, readily admitting that he’s up there with randy. Any fan who is paying attention and becomes moderately interested in the sport will remember this. Its easy to label “the masses” as idiots, but sports fans (if thats what they are) pay attention to things that distinguish one fighter (ie, being the best), thats why Fedor’s existence is now in many of their heads.

    And if UFC markets Fedor right, as the best in the world (which they will)even prior to his debut against Couture, it would build up a huge amount of hype (if only for randy alone). But considering the USA vs. Russia angle, if they do a good promotion then the fight will break records. guaranteed.

  15. Jonny Mudd says:

    What name did Dan Henderson have? Yet his recent match is one of the most watched in history (in the US). And who PROBABLY drew those fans? Why, Quentin Jackson. What name value did Jackson have before his match against Liddell really?? If they put Fedor in against Randy, it will draw HUGE. I have zero doubt about this. And the draw will be UFC legend and champ, and all round nice guy who the fans LOVE against the mean, killer Russian who no one can defeat. Thats a fucking draw, even without killer promos. The story tells itself. Now, if Fedor kills Randy, I strongly believe he will become a name and a quite the draw. If he loses, then you simply look again at what you have.

  16. [...] Zach Arnold på Fightopinion ska Vadim Finkelstein (som sköter förhandlingarna för Fedor) ha uttalat sig att en muntlig [...]

  17. JThue says:

    “Fedor is a bad signing for any company besides the UFC at this point. He has no name value in the states.”

    - But a very strong name value in Europe and Asia, which is why he WOULD be a good signing for some of the other companies working/looking to work in those areas too.

    Anyway, this sounds as good as sealed on the UFC’s part, which is great. Fedor hasn’t fought competition for two years, and him signing with some other company for another two or three years of semi-competition would be very frustrating to watch at this point.

  18. Zach Arnold says:

    Just to throw a curveball into this discussion, but Tokyo Sports this morning teased a ‘bombshell’ that Fedor would fight in HERO’s soon. I’ve sent an inquiry to his camp to find out if there’s any merit to the story.

  19. Lynchman says:

    Jonny Mudd Says:

    September 15th, 2007 at 12:45 am
    What name did Dan Henderson have? Yet his recent match is one of the most watched in history (in the US). And who PROBABLY drew those fans? Why, Quentin Jackson. What name value did Jackson have before his match against Liddell really?? If they put Fedor in against Randy, it will draw HUGE. I have zero doubt about this. And the draw will be UFC legend and champ, and all round nice guy who the fans LOVE against the mean, killer Russian who no one can defeat. Thats a fucking draw, even without killer promos. The story tells itself. Now, if Fedor kills Randy, I strongly believe he will become a name and a quite the draw. If he loses, then you simply look again at what you have.

    Rampage had a fairly heavy build up to his fight with Liddell. Also, Rampage has a very strong personality that plays well in the U.S. as well as having beaten Chuck before. I don’t think you can compare him to Fedor.

  20. 45 Huddle says:

    1. Fedor’s fight on Bodog got 13, 000 PPV Buys
    2. Fedor’s run in Pride got no more then 30,000 PPV Buys
    3. Never in the US did they get 20,000 paid tickets to see Fedor. Not even close.
    4. He isn’t as big of a name in Asia as people here think. He is known to the MMA Fans, but it isn’t like his name alone is going to sell out the Super Arena.

    As for Henderson…. He was in the right place at the right time. It was the first title fight on SpikeTV. That alone got people watching. It had NOTHING to do with Henderson’s name value.

  21. AS says:

    1. I have no doubt that Randy v. Fedor would do incredible numbers. That fight alone justifies the financial terms of Fedor’s contract. But it’s not Fedor who’s the draw, it’s Randy. Fedor just makes a nice foil because he’s Russian and a champion who can be built up as unstoppable.

    2. My point was that I don’t see Fedor as a sure fire draw even if he defeats Randy. Comparisons to Jackson fall apart because Jackson has everything that draws in America, a great unique look/persona and a colorful personality. Whereas Fedor doesn’t speak English, has a bad body, and a seemingly dull presence. Given that, Fedor needs the UFC and its hype machine a lot more than the UFC needs him.

    3. The UFC announcers mentioning him means very little to business. The causal fan who has driven the explosion in the sport doesn’t hang on every word of commentary. In fact he probably hears very little of it because he’s at the bar watching the show or with a house full of his buddies.

    4. Henderson meant nothing to business for the reasons others have pointed out.

  22. Rollo the Cat says:

    Any organization with a shred of marketing ability could turn Fedor into a star. I do not so sure that describes the UFC’s marketing department, which is better at promoting the UFC than at promoting the fighters. With that in mind, I am not sure what was responsible for the high ratings of 75 and what wasn’t. We can throw out the usual reasons, which are more a projection of our own likes and dislikes, but I haven’t seen any reason to believe them or not.

    And I do think Henderson’s value was a lot more than “nothing”. The old timers still have an aura, presence and name recognition that the newer fighters don’t.

  23. AS says:

    The UFC is the only promotion in the U.S. currently capable of making any money off Fedor or having any chance of making him a star. Say what you want about the UFC’s style of marketing, but nobody else has found a way to be profitable, let alone as wildly profitable as the UFC.

    I think you’re severely overestimating the hardcore fan/”old timers.” That will get you about 15,000-30,000 buys. Its the causal fan who drives the business. The guy that thinks the UFC didn’t even exist before The Ultimate Fighter and Couture-Liddell II. The guy that showed up at your house to watch UFC 75 because the guy that beat Chuck was defending his title. He didn’t have a clue who Dan Henderson was.

  24. [...] (Finkelstein is Emelianenko?s manager.) The report was first discussed by Zach Arnold of FightOpinion.com. According to Arnold: "According to the M-1 office, Finkelstein and UFC negotiated terms of a [...]

  25. Bryan says:

    “1. Fedor’s fight on Bodog got 13, 000 PPV Buys
    2. Fedor’s run in Pride got no more then 30,000 PPV Buys
    3. Never in the US did they get 20,000 paid tickets to see Fedor. Not even close.
    4. He isn’t as big of a name in Asia as people here think. He is known to the MMA Fans, but it isn’t like his name alone is going to sell out the Super Arena.

    As for Henderson…. He was in the right place at the right time. It was the first title fight on SpikeTV. That alone got people watching. It had NOTHING to do with Henderson’s name value.”

    *sigh*

    1. Fedor’s fight for Bodog took place in Russia.
    2. Fedor’s fights in Pride FC took place in Japan with the exception of the Real Deal.
    3. This claim was never made.
    4. The MMA fans know who he is? Well, then, I guess it’s fortuitous that he is an MMA fighter.

    You claimed that Fedor had NO name value in the United States. I was at an event in America in which a stadium full of Americans not only knew his name but were rabid about him and that obviously wasn’t the extent of his name since apparently 30,000 other people in America still ordered the ppv.

    YOUR CLAIM THAT HE HAS NO NAME VALUE IN THE US WAS WRONG.

    You’re delusional if you think people are that concerned about titles in MMA. Half of the UFC fans are TUF newbs who used to watch the WWF where there titles are little more than props. The other half are fans of combat sports and aren’t concerned about titles because of sports like boxing where there are like 700 different organization, titles and weight classes. I can just see the conversations now:

    “Hey man do you want to watch the UFC this weekend”

    “I don’t know man, who is fighting?”

    “Who cares, there are titles on the line. There is a shiny belt and everything. It’s great.”

    “Cool man, I’m so there.”

    In MMA it’s the fighters that drive the sport. That’s why Randy Couture got an instant title shot despite having not fought as a HW in a long time and losing his last fight at LHW. If it were really about the belts than Randy would have had to of earned his title shot because it would be all about the titles.

  26. Rollo the Cat says:

    “As for Henderson…. He was in the right place at the right time. It was the first title fight on SpikeTV. That alone got people watching. It had NOTHING to do with Henderson’s name value.””

    Henderson, who was in the UFC previously had no part in the ratings, but Fedor is some super draw in the US?

    BTW, I won’t claim that everyone tuned in to watch Hendo, but people forget how popular the UFC was back in the old days. Also, the old UFC marketed the fighters better than anything Zuffa has done. The real stars, even today,are guys who were in the SEG owned UFC.

    My real claim was that we don’t really know why this was so successful. Remember that the last card, 70, had several bad matches and that probably kept the viewers away. This one started off great and was fairly consistent throughout.

    Bryan: reread your original post. It seems as though you did claim 20,000 peopel. It wasn’t even half that in paid attendence.

    Fedor’s Bodog fight being in Russia meant nothing. The PPV was available here and it got horrible numbers.

  27. AS says:

    There is no evidence to support the idea that Fedor is a draw in the United States. He doesn’t speak the language. He doesn’t have an impressive physique/look. The only thing he has going for him is that he happens to be the best heavyweight in the world. The problem is the casual fans who make the difference between the 250,000-300,000 ppv buyrate baseline and the 750,000-1,000,000 ppv blowout don’t know who he is and don’t really care. Only in the context of challenging their beloved champion does he matter.

    The key factors in UFC 75 ratings were title v. title, first title fight on free tv, and Rampage who has the rub of knocking out Chuck and the persona (personality + look) of a star. Dan Henderson was a small part of the formula, but easily replacable.

  28. Bryan says:

    2. My point was that I don’t see Fedor as a sure fire draw even if he defeats Randy. Comparisons to Jackson fall apart because Jackson has everything that draws in America, a great unique look/persona and a colorful personality. Whereas Fedor doesn’t speak English, has a bad body, and a seemingly dull presence. Given that, Fedor needs the UFC and its hype machine a lot more than the UFC needs him.

    3. The UFC announcers mentioning him means very little to business. The causal fan who has driven the explosion in the sport doesn’t hang on every word of commentary. In fact he probably hears very little of it because he’s at the bar watching the show or with a house full of his buddies.

    That’s an interesting assessment of what Americans are after. Your overlooked something that Americans like more than good physiques and charismatic personalities though and that is winners. Thus far, Fedor has proven to be an unstoppable killing machine. That is why Fedor already has a fan base in the United States.

    In your second point you make a conclusory statement with no evidence to support your conclusion. “It means very little…” based on what? Your idle speculation, the fortune cookie you ate last night?

    Just the other day, a “TUF newb” came onto this very site and took offense to the assertion that because they came into the game late they didn’t know who any of the Pride fighters were. You see, there is this crazy thing called the internet which people can use to find out things about things they are interested in. You can even watch videos on it, isn’t that crazy.

    In any event, on this site we have got two examples of anecdotal evidence which cancel each other out. So I say we don’t make statements that we cannot prove such as “Dan Henderson had absolutely nothing to do with the ratings,” unless you can, you know, actually prove your assertions.

  29. Joey says:

    JThue Says:
    September 15th, 2007 at 4:34 am
    Anyway, this sounds as good as sealed on the UFC’s part, which is great. Fedor hasn’t fought competition for two years, and him signing with some other company for another two or three years of semi-competition would be very frustrating to watch at this point.

    Ummmmmmmmm, Fedor fought Lindland in April, He fought Mark Hunt on New Years I think, and he fought Mark Coleman about a year ago. . . Of course he won all three, and if those three names aren’t big enough to ring a bell in your ear then you obviously aren’t as big of an MMA follower as you believe.

    Anyways, I think to help the marketing, they have to market fedor as undefeated. Technically he should be and there is always a bigger draw for undefeated fighters. He has a loss on his record because he received a cut from an illegal blow, forcing the doctor to stop the fight. In a normal match, he would have won by disqualification but since it was a tournament and he couldn’t fight in the next round, the other guy advanced AND the record of the fighters had to indicate a clear winner and a clear loser, thats why he has one loss.

  30. Joey says:

    PS: I think that Randy Couture is a the luckiest SOB in the entire athletic industry. He isn’t very good, he didn’t dominate Gonzaga. He received his only advantage of the fight due to headbutting Gonzaga’s nose through the matt. The fight against Sylvia was one of the most boring fights ever watched. Randy did dominate that fight but he sure didn’t do much outside the first punch. Chuck destroyed him and any high level of competition will unless they can’t breathe. I can’t wait for the UFC to sign Fedor (hopefully) and have him make a complete mockery of Randy Couture. White won’t sign Barnett because he knows Couture would get his ass kicked by him. Nog hasn’t got a shot at Randy yet, because that would be embarassing. And all in all, they probably haven’t signed Fedor yet because they don’t want Randy to lose. Sorry for this long, biased, and pointless message; Couture is good but he’s not that good and it bothers me to the level that Madden on Brett Favre bothers me. Couture is a top ten heavyweight, but theres no way you can put him above four or five. He would lose to almost all of the top ten light heavyweights, he makes me sick.

  31. AS says:

    Rampage got a multi-week roll out on Inside UFC leading to his octagon debut. Rampage was the beneficary of ESPN’s unpredecented blitz of Liddell-Jackson II. Rampage got the rub of knocking out the biggest star in the sport on a show that did around 1,000,000 buys. On the other hand Dan Henderson made a non-speaking cameo after Page’s title win and got 20 minutes of TV time on the countdown special.

    Strong TV is how stars are created. Dan Henderson never had the benefit of that exposure prior to UFC 75, so I think its safe, and logical, to conclude that Henderson meant very little to UFC 75’s ratings.

    If the internet is such a powerful force in the business, why did Frank Shamrock, a much bigger star from the SEG days, fail to do 30,000 buys even against a charsmatic challenger like Baroni?

  32. JThue says:

    “Ummmmmmmmm, Fedor fought Lindland in April, He fought Mark Hunt on New Years I think, and he fought Mark Coleman about a year ago. . . Of course he won all three, and if those three names aren’t big enough to ring a bell in your ear then you obviously aren’t as big of an MMA follower as you believe.”

    - I do not, have not and will never consider Matt Lindland top competition at HW. Not at LHW either for what it’s worth. He’s a top MW fighter. Coleman was washed up beyond washed up and served as sparring beef. Hunt was perhaps close to being considered a top 10 fighter at the time, but had just been exposed in ring in his previous fight. That one can admittedly be disputed, but no, I do not think Fedor has faced top competition since the title fight with Cro Cop, and yes I would like to see him back in the thick of things.

  33. The Gaijin says:

    (A) Joey stop being a troll

    (B) JThue – How can you say that Lindland is “not top competition at LHW”?

    IMO and that of many others he actually beat Rampage (controversial split decision), the current top dog in the UFC, in their match at LHW not too long ago.

    I think he’s got the style to give almost EVERY top LHW fighter on the planet fits.

    Outside of that I do pretty much agree with the rest of what you said.

  34. JThue says:

    I thought Rampage was still the poor Rampage in that fight, and certainly not the same fighter he had been or has since turned back into and surpassed. All in my humble opinion of course. I guess it was kind of pointless of me to mention LHW in the first place.

  35. Joey says:

    I’ll agree, Lindland is not a contender at heavyweight. Sorry for being a troll. I’m not saying that Coleman was a top fighter, I’m saying that you should remember him fighting. Maybe I misunderstood your comment. If you meant he hasn’t faced top competition in years, I wouldn’t have a huge problem with it. I thought you meant he hadn’t fought in two years; which is crazy to say.

  36. [...] stated in the contract. This is why, according to M-1, Fedor has not signed a contract with UFC.  Source This entry was posted on Sunday, September 16th, 2007 at 5:33 pm and is filed under UFC. You can [...]

  37. Jeremy (not that Jeremy) says:

    UFC doesn’t need Fedor to become the preeminent MMA organization. UFC needs Fedor BECAUSE they ARE the preeminent MMA organization, and because Fedor is highly regarded in circles of highly influential MMA fans. Keeping those fans satisfied by regularly bringing in global talent regarded as being among the best is something that a preeminent MMA organization does.

    However, if they don’t sign him now, it’s possible that he will never fight again in a high profile promotion outside of HERO’s, which doesn’t have any media exposure in the US. After a year or two, he might well become a footnote in the books, and a few people will wonder what might have been.

    Fedor is no longer of value to the UFC when he drops out of the top five on the Sherdog rankings. Until then, they should be doing everything possible to sign him.

  38. [...] update on the contract negotiations between the UFC and Fedor: According to the M-1 office, Finkelstein [...]

  39. [...] and Fedor’s management came to an agreement last week, but when Zuffa sent a contract over the terms were completely different: M-1 claims that the negotiations were a success and that the parties agreed to what the terms of [...]

  40. Ping says:

    Hey why did the UFC screw up the contract? Is it because Dana White is getting greedy and dont want to give FEDOR a good deal? FREDOR is the best in the world right now(undefeated), except for one match stopped because of a cut. Randy can not claim to be the best unless he beats FEDOR. Comon Dana, stop screwing around!!

  41. reality checker says:

    If all that is true then UFC really playing dirty games, they end up loosing a champ forever. Dana White has to redo the contract once again. I think they just do not want to accept Fedor’s terms which is a must in this case.

  42. [...] update on the contract negotiations between the UFC and Fedor: According to the M-1 office, Finkelstein [...]

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