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Dave Meltzer: Strikeforce needs to move on from Fedor and they’ll be better for doing so

By Zach Arnold | February 14, 2011

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A three-parter from Sunday night’s radio show de jour.

The first passage deals with Fedor wanting to retire and why no one seemingly will let the man do so.

BRYAN ALVAREZ: “When I read last night Scott Coker, I don’t know if we talked about this on the show last night, but Coker and Vadim Finkelchtein, both of them, talking about ‘oh, ho, no he’s not retiring, he’s going to come back,’ and Coker just seems like he completely blew off the idea that Fedor was retiring and Vadim seemed to be strongly suggesting that this poor guy was going to coming back.”

DAVE MELTZER: “What’s Vadim without Fedor?”

BRYAN ALVAREZ: “Well, that’s the point. And then today when I read in the update today that people that actually spoke Russian, when they heard what Fedor said and then what Roseanne translated it was completely different or at least different in the sense…”

DAVE MELTZER: “It wasn’t completely different, but she lightened it. He was saying that he retired and she was saying that he was thinking of retiring.”

BRYAN ALVAREZ: “Yeah, let this poor damn guy retire! If he wants to retire, let him go.”

DAVE MELTZER: “I think there’s too many people relying on him, you know, I mean he’s going to (have to) go out kicking and screaming, they’re not going to accept it.”

BRYAN ALVAREZ: “This, right here, is a tragedy if it happens.”

DAVE MELTZER: “It feels really sad in a lot of ways. If he doesn’t want to fight, you know, let him not fight.”

BRYAN ALVAREZ: “I mean just this idea of, you know… I don’t know, all three of them really annoyed me. Coker and just like not taking it seriously at all.”

DAVE MELTZER: “Well… you know the thing with Coker is that Coker’s probably been watching too much wrestling and seeing all these guys retire and they never do so he just doesn’t take it so seriously.”

BRYAN ALVAREZ: “Yeah, but, man it just came off so callous. And the same thing with M-1. I mean, Vadim is obviously…”

DAVE MELTZER: “I didn’t hear, you know, maybe he did come callous. I only…”

BRYAN ALVAREZ: “I’m just reading the quotes, I don’t even know how he said it. But, you know… every quote was like, ‘oh, no, he’ll be back, in fact he may be an alternate’ and this and that. Just like, man, the guy made it clear he really doesn’t want to do this now and why would you throw a guy back in there who you’re forcing to, I don’t know.”

DAVE MELTZER: “Well, they’re not going to force him. I mean, you know… I mean at the end of the day, he can not fight.”

BRYAN ALVAREZ: “The Russians may force him.”

DAVE MELTZER: “The Russians may force him. That’s true. That’s true, which is really quite sad.”

The second passage deals with why Mr. Coker, M-1, and others just won’t let go of Fedor when they should for the sake of the man’s career and for the sake of their business goals.

DAVE MELTZER: “OK, here’s the other thing. With the amount of money that it costs to get this guy, okay? He has to draw and we don’t even know if he drew for this one, but even going forward is he going to draw going forward? I don’t know. I mean, it’s almost like they’re better off without him.”


DAVE MELTZER: “I mean, it’s like… you know… to me it’s like, okay, now he’s lost twice, he doesn’t have leverage, he can’t hold you up, he can’t renegotiate after every show. They can’t have, you know, make you say M-1 Global as the promotion on your show and things like that. So, you know, it’s like, okay, he’s served his purpose and, you know, if he wants to come back and fight… but he shouldn’t, you know, he shouldn’t be able to dictate anything because he’s got no power any more. If he wants to fight, fine, that’s cool, you know. If he doesn’t want to fight, that’s cool, move on. You know, don’t like act like it’s still two fights ago where, you know, he’s… people are believing he’s number on the world so there’s some sort of a value in having as number one in the world even though, again, he still wasn’t a big enough draw. But now, I mean, what’s the deal? He’s just another, he’s just another Heavyweight fighter who, you know, I mean was once great, you know, just like he’s a step above Nogueira. Once, again, what’s Nogueira now? He’s just a guy on the roster. That’s Fedor. Fedor’s a, you know, I mean, you know, former Living Legend and all that, but… you know, if he’s not there, I don’t think that Strikeforce goes down the tubes if Fedor isn’t there, at all.”


DAVE MELTZER: “You know, I mean, they got to be preparing for the future. I mean, no matter what, I don’t know that Fedor has given no indication he’s going to come back and dominate and certainly not as a Heavyweight with the new crop of Heavyweights that’s there. So… I mean, you don’t need to bend over backwards for him. You know, like this whole thing with wins and losses, it’s like if a guy loses he loses his leverage. …”

BRYAN ALVAREZ: “Let me say one more thing about when you talk about building for the future. You know, obviously, you know I give Coker a little bit of the benefit of the doubt because I mean, obviously, the big story last night was Fedor and that’s all anybody was ever asking about. But, same time, it’s like all these interviews is just Fedor, Fedor, he may come back, he may be an alternate, you never know what’s going to happen in the tournament, guys may come back in. It’s just like, talk about who won. Let’s talk about Bigfoot and…”

DAVE MELTZER: “They did the same thing with Werdum! You know, if you think about it, like Werdum should be so much more of a big star than he is.”


DAVE MELTZER: “I mean, he submitted Fedor, and it was like when it was over, a lot of this is the fan base, too. Again, like, the fans, everyone, everywhere all they’re talking about is Fedor this, Fedor that, Fedor this, and you know that’s what happens when you’re kind of a superstar in some ways. You know, no one’s talking about, you know like when Cain Velasquez beat Lesnar, people were talking about Cain Velasquez. For whatever reason, you know, when Silva won, they’re all talking about Fedor. It’s like Silva didn’t prove anything, you know, I don’t know. I mean, you know, Silva may go win this whole thing for all we know. I mean, he’s got as good of a, you know, I don’t want to say he’s got as good of a shot as anybody but he’s certainly got a shot.”

Dana White: Fedor has been bad for the sport and has caused damage

The launching point is about Dave’s Sunday phone call with Dana White. He said that Mr. White had arrived in New York and that he spent the majority of the call ranting and raving against Fedor ‘nuthuggers’ and about his Twitter battles.

“It is different. I mean, the one thing when, you know, I looked at all that stuff that he’s doing on Twitter and I’m just thinking, you know, he’s the head of this league and it’s like, granted, you know Dana’s going to be what’s Dana’s going to be and I don’t think that’s necessarily a negative and I mean, you know, if we’re adding the pluses and minuses on this business that Dana White’s had, it’s very, very strongly on the plus side, you know. There are minuses, of course, but the thing is like, I just could not imagine like, you know, the head of the NBA or any sports league going on there, you know, getting, you know… Going on Twitter, getting mad at people who are saying that, you know, you should treat Fedor with more respect. And I mean, from his perspective, you know, because that was what he was ranting about… in his mind, Fedor is a guy who, you know, ruined, you know, I mean not single-handedly but had a hand in ruining several companies because of his outrageous demands. Then again, to me, it’s the companies’ fault for paying him, you know, I mean if it was up to me, you know, you can’t pay a guy for more than he’s worth as a draw unless you have a bottomless pit of money and evidently all these companies who went out of business whether they said had a bottomless pit of money, evidently at the end they did not…

“And, so, you know, so (Dana’s) going like, how did (Fedor) help the business by putting these companies out? And, for all these years, you know, if he was so great for the business, all these fights that people wanted to see, he wouldn’t do ’em. You know, so, you know, again and I guess the flip argument is he didn’t want to work for UFC and he did agree to fight (Josh) Barnett. He did fight, you know, Sylvia and Arlovski, you know, which whatever that means, you know, people can debate that back and forth. But it wasn’t like in the last couple of years he, I mean the only one he, you know, I mean, Kharitonov hadn’t really been around. He was going to fight Barnett but the drug test thing got in his way so it wasn’t like he backed off of a Barnett fight or wouldn’t fight Barnett. He didn’t fight Overeem but, you know, the fact is that he entered this tournament where there was a pretty good darn chance that he would fight Overeem and, you know, the Russians for whatever you want to say, they didn’t try to force their hand on the bracketing and say, ‘no, no, no, he needs to be on this other side with Josh Barnett.’ They, you know, I don’t know if they could have but evidently the fact is that, you know, he was on a collision course with either, you know, Werdum or Overeem, except that he lost.”

Topics: M-1, Media, MMA, StrikeForce, UFC, Zach Arnold | 27 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

27 Responses to “Dave Meltzer: Strikeforce needs to move on from Fedor and they’ll be better for doing so”

  1. Paradoxx says:

    Dana is a genius.

    This weekend had nothing to do with UFC and he’s still the big topic on Monday.

    I can just see him sitting around Saturday saying “Watch… this will get em riled up”

    • rudy says:

      Dana, he does it for lulz, he’s no different than your average /b/tard

    • The Gaijin says:

      Go figure – a content partner running a story about their content partner?!? Unheard of…truly a master manipulator. Seriously, what a GENIUS!..How that man was able to “dupe” his content partner into running a fluff piece on his “airing of grievances” I’ll never know!…it’s cerebral really.

  2. mattio says:

    Fedor didn’t just help those money mark run companies out of business, he helped ruin the careers of Arlovski and Sylvia too.

  3. smoogy says:

    “I looked at all that stuff that he’s doing on Twitter and I’m just thinking, you know, he’s the head of this league and it’s like, granted, you know Dana’s going to be what’s Dana’s going to be and I don’t think that’s necessarily a negative and I mean, you know, if we’re adding the pluses and minuses on this business that Dana White’s had, it’s very, very strongly on the plus side, you know.”

    Spineless. And calling Fedor’s translator “Roseanne” really set the tone for what sounds like a wholly moronic conversation.

  4. cutch says:

    I think the only way Fedor gets near a title shot is if he drops to LHW and goes after Feijao or old man Dan.

    It’s no secret that Strikeforce’s LHW division isn’t the greatest, so if M1 are pushing for him to return, it should be at the lighter weight class.

    • Party Worm says:

      That might work in Strikeforce but it’s not a very good long term strategy. The secret to Fedor’s success has always been in exploiting the fact that ‘real’ HWs (until the last couple of years) really didn’t know how to fight.

      I don’t think Fedor would even make it as a gatekeeper in the UFC LHW division (theoretically speaking since it won’t ever happen).

  5. robthom says:

    “…If he doesn’t want to fight, you know, let him not fight.””

    I forget who said it (Rossen?), but that makes me think of when somebody said that a hesitant fighter is an accident or injury waiting to happen.

    Back when Chuck was in this position (with hackleman as m1 behind the whip) there was a good argument for Chuck stepping back for a sec, catching his breath, looking inward and regathering himself before trying again.

    But in this scenario, Fedor has already been taking a break for 5 years and its probably what made him worse.

    I think that if Fed could talk this over in peace with his family and those closest to him who genuinely know and care about him he could decide whether he really doesn’t want to do it anymore, or that he does and is ready to do what it takes to reclaim his former status.

    But fat chance of that.

    Not with M1 leaving messages on his phone, flowers and sweaters on his doorstep and creeping around in the bushes outside of his home.

    I’m assuming M1 made him a lot of money for not doing much if thats all he needed.

    If he continues fighting now for any other reason then his own desire to compete and be great then its only greed on somebody’s part, and I think we know who that somebody is.

  6. Jason Harris says:

    I think Strikeforce would be much better off if they’d get out of the Fedor business, but from the sounds of it, Coker is in no rush to do that. The fact is, Fedor has a fanbase, but:

    – Fedor is VERY expensive
    – Fedor’s management is notoriously unreliable and hard to deal with
    – A lot Fedor’s fanbase tends to be the backwards thinking “old school = only school” guys who won’t warm up to a new star no matter what he does or how they build him up.

    I like Fedor, I’m glad SF has kept him business long enough that I’ve gotten to see him fight, but his heart seems out of the game, his drawing power is diminishing and was never that great, and he comes with all sorts of baggage that just can’t be worth it anymore.

    Ditch Fedor, focus on building up guys like Bigfoot, Werdum, Kharitonov…shit, every other guy in the tournament.

    Instead, they’re spending press conferences saying “oh, well, sure Fedor lost, but we might bring him back! don’t worry!” Really? Why aren’t you selling the press and the fans on the fact that Bigfoot really went out there and looked good, and beat a great? Instead you’re ignoring Bigfoot and telling me that Fedor will be back soon.

    • To me, it seems like the media is the one focused on Fedor, as well you’d expect. He’s the one name in the tourney that draws eyes. Why would the media want to talk about Antonio Silva, by comparison?

      • Jason Harris says:

        Because he just came off of the most impressive win in his career?

        For the same reason that everyone wanted to talk about Cain Velasquez after he beat Brock. Dana White didn’t get up there and say “Yeah yeah guys okay Cain did what he did but DON’T WORRY there’s more Brock to come!” They hype up the guy that won. Doing anything else is just squandering an opportunity by grasping at straws.

        It’s one thing for an internet blog to keep on about Fedor, but Strikeforce should be hyping up Kharitonov and Silva to hell and back. Instead all we’re getting is more Fedor-centric talk, despite the fact that even if he does fight again, he’s in the twilight of his career. And when he’s gone, they’ll be stuck trying to start from scratch building up the guys they have.

        • Antonio Silva doesn’t move the meter though. It doesn’t matter who and how he beats for a good long time, Fedor was the star everyone was talking about coming into this fight.

          Don’t fool yourself here. Cain Velasquez is not a megastar because he beat Brock. He may not even be much of a star. Just like Edgar following the Penn wins. As far as all the Fedor-centric talk, is that really the only thing that was talked about at the press conference, or is it the only thing people are taking from the press conference as a talking point because they know it moves the meters? Was it the dominating series of questions at the press conference (undoubtedly it must have been)?

          I said it before with the segment pulled from the Ariel interview with Coker. His first question is basically “What are you going to do since Fedor lost and you failed?” What impartial questioning!

        • Jason Harris says:

          “Antonio Silva doesn’t move the meter though.”

          Why not? Who’s fault is that? It’s yet another example of Strikeforce doing the “ESTABLISHED STAR IS FIGHTING! WATCH HIM FIGHT! WHO? WHOEVER! WATCH THE STAR!” until that star is faded. Great example: Hendo vs. Shields. Ignored Shields and watched him derail their hot new star (that someone else built).

          Meanwhile UFC takes Shields and he’s now on the highest selling MMA event in North America. Talk all you want about how he’s not the draw, but after the UFC gets through pushing him, every MMA fan will know who he is.

          Strikeforce just doesn’t seem to have an interest in building stars, but when your roster has so many aging veterans, it’s not a very strong 5 year plan.

          The fact that they’re talking about bringing Fedor back at all tells you all you need to know about their mentality. “Look guys, we know our event isn’t legit, we’ll just keep throwing Fedor in there until he quits! cool?” Fucking hell.

        • One win, or even a couple wins, isn’t going to get Silva on the same plane as Fedor in terms of name value. Why are you pretending otherwise?

          I like Jake Shields plenty and I’ve pushed for him and GSP to whatever extent it matters online (not much, frankly), and I’ll be the first to tell you that Shields isn’t selling a single ticket to that event. You should have come out here a couple months ago for Shields/Kampmann to talk about what a great job the UFC has done selling Shields when he came out to a minimal reaction.

        • Jason Harris says:

          Your black and white way of looking at it is the same as Coker & Co…they should employ you 😉 You see it in terms of “STAR” and “NOT STAR” which is not how the world works. The same fighter can sell a ton of tickets to one fight and not another based on a whole host of factors.

          Nobody is arguing that a couple of wins makes Silva replace Fedor, but the fact of the matter is, Fedor can have all the name recognition in the world, and be the world’s most famous retired fighter, but if you’re a fight promoter, what do you do when all of your eggs are in that basket? Fedor was nothing when he came up in PRIDE. The commentators acted like he didn’t belong in the ring with Heath Herring. Through performance he came up into the star he is now, over the course of a couple of years. If the PRIDE people had used your (and Coker’s) logic, they’d ignore Fedor and would have kept pushing their “Star” Heath Herring.

        • So let’s go back to the start here, can we? The argument is that Scott Coker and Strikeforce aren’t doing anything to promote or talk about Antonio Silva. Is that the case, or is that what the media is reporting on because it is what draws viewers and interest to websites? They are not in a position where they have physical investment in the ability to control the media narrative, in some cases because the UFC has already staked a claim with certain sites or writers.

          Nobody is arguing that a couple of wins makes Silva replace Fedor, but the fact of the matter is, Fedor can have all the name recognition in the world, and be the world’s most famous retired fighter, but if you’re a fight promoter, what do you do when all of your eggs are in that basket?

          Obviously the plan is to continue with the tournament, and if Silva continues to justify a high profile with continued wins, he’ll be a bigger star. There is no magic answer to this. You can ask the same thing about why it is that Frankie Edgar isn’t a star or why none of the sub-155lb fighters who aren’t Faber are stars.

        • Jason Harris says:

          The difference is, UFC is backing Edgar and putting him in the spotlight, not going “OMG I am sorry guys! BJ Penn is getting another shot! We’ll keep going until he wins again!”

  7. 45 Huddle says:

    1) Coker doesn’t have the roster depth to lose even shot fighters. They don’t want Fedor to retire and he has yet to say Arlovski is cut. It’s sad.

    2) All the talk is about Fedor because Coker fails as a promoter leading into the fights and nobody is emotionally invested in his opponents. Just look at the lines. Nobody thought either Fedor loss was going to be a tough fight for Fedor. If Werdum or Silva were promoted properly, then there would be 10 times the upside to their victories.

    3) As I said yesterday…. White played everybody. He worked his name into an event he had nothing to do with.

    Coker is in trouble as more organizations fail and he won’t be able to take their taken and repackage them. He couldn’t make Silva into somebody talked about by Monday despite his tour de force performance. Just pathetic. Silva would have been a huge star on the UFC stage if that fight was done with them promoting it.

    • The Gaijin says:

      I never want to see Andrei Arlovski fight again. That guy is in for some serious health issues, both mentally (as he’s alluded to before) and physically.

      He needs the people that surround him to really look out for him, even if it means refusing to work with him again. He’s gone out on his shield too many times and the fact that the lights are going out almost everytime he gets touched is a bad, bad sign. I hope he saved his big paydays.

    • The Gaijin says:

      “3) As I said yesterday…. White played everybody. He worked his name into an event he had nothing to do with.”

      Who is he “playing”? The marks? The people who look to him for their opinions and/or to validate the opinions they already have or share with him? Dave Meltzer and Kevin Iole? It’s Fedor, he’s always trying to stick his mug in on the topic.

      I hardly think that him getting Dave Meltzer to talk about what Dana does is some evidence of a master plan to play everyone…once again, there’s a real shock that his content partner gave him ad-space. It’s already been established he uses the Yahoo guys as a quasi-PR firm.

      Does almost every “major” website having a “thread” on it that says he looks like an idiot trolling fans is an awesome thing ((hey – maybe if you subscribe to “no such thing as bad press”) vs. 20 threads on Fedor’s career and talking about the tournament) really show he’s dictating the message like some are trying to spin it?

      I think if anything, it’s a function of how terrible the MMA media is that they’re even looking at it and how brainwashed most fans are that they need to have every opinion validated or dictated by Dana.

      I think the book is out on what they’ll do with Antonio Silva, but be serious – when Frankie Edgar beat BJ or Matt Serra beat GSP what were people talking about for the next three days? Hint: Very little about the winner. But going from past experience (see: Werdum) I think you’re right that they’ll miss the opportunity with Silva.

      • edub says:

        Agree with most of what you said Gaij but…because there’s always one..:

        The only reason the media didn’t hype Frankie that much after he beat BJ the first time is because half of the media, and the fanbase, thought BJ won the fight. Matt Serra was talked about at huge lengths when he upset GSP. How nobody thought he had power (except the few people who watched the Karo fight). About his last chance being fulfilled. How him and Hughes would now have a grudge match. How he would be a good coach on TUF (when it was announced) because of his first time on the show. The aftermath in that fight was a lot more favorable towards Serra compared to Bigfoot coming off the Fedor fight.

        • The Gaijin says:

          Hmmm…guess memory didn’t serve me too well on that. Thanks for setting me straight!

          Anyways my main point being, the media acting exactly as expected isn’t really raising my pulse. And is it a surprise they write about UFC if they have the opportunity? What garners the most hits? A divisive character like Dana.

  8. fedor rules says:

    HUH? Dana does/did everything in his power to put anybody out of business that isn’t the UFC.

    But he’s trying to put that on Fedor?

    Give me a break.

    • cutch says:

      and M1 have had some crazy demands that helped put those orgs out of business. M1 brought Fedor but it was the other org that paid him, they also had to pay for the other guys on the fight card and M1 thought this was co-promoting.


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