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Scott Coker’s foot-in-mouth disease stirs up hornet’s nest over Fedor/Henderson

By Zach Arnold | May 29, 2011

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(Click the picture to watch the video interview)

In what was supposed to be a largely mundane interview by Scott Coker with Ariel Helwani of, Mr. Coker managed to stir up a hornet’s nest with these comments about the upcoming Fedor/Dan Henderson fight on July 30th.

ARIEL HELWANI: “You announced several big announcements (on Saturday), the first one being the biggest one, Fedor vs. Dan Henderson July 30th in, just outside of Chicago, Sears Center. How hard was it to put that fight together, especially given the catch weight at 220 pounds?”

SCOTT COKER: “Well, I tell you, you know, anything with Fedor sometimes can be difficult, right? But, um, you know, a lot of that is just, they’re not here, you can’t just pick up the phone and call ’em and, you know, they can come over and have a meeting with you, face-to-face. I mean, it’s a long-distance thing and then you have a language barrier and you have to have a translator and… it’s nice to say that it’s done, so that’s put behind us, so, you know, I don’t have to worry about that anymore. But it was quite a little task to get this thing done.”

ARIEL HELWANI: “Why didn’t you just have teh fight at 205 and for the belt?”

SCOTT COKER: “Um…. you know, we never really had a conversation with Fedor about dropping down to 205, because he’s a heavyweight, you know, I think it’s a little bit disrespectful and Dan said, look, you know what? I’ll come up and fight him, I don’t care what weight, I’ll fight him at, you know, 250. But I knew that Dan would not be fighting at 250 and Fedor really fights at, you know, 225, so… That’s, 220 was the uh… was the uh… compromise that Jordan Fagan (Dan’s lawyer/agent) felt comfortable with and the M-1 side felt comfortable with.”

ARIEL HELWANI: “Has the relationship changed at all since the purchase between you and M-1? Has it made any more, uh, tricky, difficult, anything like that?”

SCOTT COKER: “You know what? Not really. Not really. It’s still the same. They’re still great guys over there.”

After the video interview was published early Saturday evening, Dan Henderson took to Twitter to rebut the premise of a catch weight fight and Ariel started taking (unjustified) heat for what was said.

This incident could simply be a miscommunication where Strikeforce and Mr. Fagan agreed upon a deal but Dan wasn’t kept in the loop on negotiations… or someone is lying, because Scott Coker’s comments left no room for ambiguity. In Washington D.C. politics, a ‘Kinsleyian gaffe’ is when a politician accidentally tells the truth. Is that the case here?

Is it really a big deal that the fight would be a catch weight bout at 220 as opposed to a standard heavyweight fight? No, not in the grand scheme of things. With that said, the fact that this ‘big announcement’ was rolled out on Saturday and something still got screwed up is just a friendly reminder of what has been missing since Zuffa purchased the assets of Strikeforce.

Topics: Media, MMA, StrikeForce, UFC, Zach Arnold | 14 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

14 Responses to “Scott Coker’s foot-in-mouth disease stirs up hornet’s nest over Fedor/Henderson”

  1. 45 Huddle says:

    It’s easy to see why Strikeforce ended up going to the UFC.

    Fedor Emelaienko vs. Dan Henderson is not worth $2.3 Million in guaranteed money. I don’t care if Showtime and the UFC are splitting the bill. That one fight is not worth even close to that much guaranteed money. There is not one major star in that fight. There isn’t even a top 5 fighter in the weight classes they are currently competing in.

    Based on the Zuffa Strikeforce cards that are being announced, the fighters are finally being tested in the organization. Shelby is really going through that talent roster and finding out what talent is worth making a UFC run at some point.

    Scott Coker is irrelevant at this point. He is irrelevant to the UFC. He is irrelevant to Strikeforce. He is even irrelevant to Showtime. Zuffa is now in audition mode on Showtime. If Showtime likes the end product they are getting, they could keep the UFC on their channel. If they don’t, they won’t.

    What Coker says has no impact on the future.

  2. 45 Huddle says:

    Great article over at BE. This is exactly the type of articles that need to be written in MMA Media. Thought provoking and analytical.

    So I guess even from a BJJ bias….. Johnson still wins!!

  3. RossenSearchTeam says:

    Some guy over at mmatv made a good point, what kind of world is this were a guy coming off 2 losses and doesn’t even hold a belt gets paid 1.5 million to fight a guy 30 pounds smaller then him?!

    I love Hendo, happy he’s gonna make some nice cabbage, and he does have a chance and a right to do it, but I kind of wish that he hadn’t been so quick to be crazy undersized Hendo and let Fed/m1 get away with this again.

    Its kind of a setback as far as ever being able to expect fed/m1 to act reasonably before fedor retires.

    • Tomer says:

      Because it’s part of the guarantee in Fedor’s contract that probably was in place before his losing streak? Despite what people think about the management of Fedor (just like people think about Al Haymon in Boxing with regards to his power to get all his fighters (not Mayweather, who is a big draw in his own right, but Paul Williams and Andre Berto, amongst others) sweet deals with HBO), they’re doing their job as managers and the only guys you can blame for the huge paycheck is Strikeforce management since, if they put their foot down, maybe they would have gotten a better deal, but just like HBO with Haymon, they let M1 run over them and get an awesome deal.

      • 45 Huddle says:

        What you are saying sounds nice, but it’s not in check with reality.

        1) Fedor’s management has the checks signed over to M-1, not to Fedor Emelianenko himself. That is not in the best interest of the fighter.

        2) Fedor’s management has created huge delays in his fights. They also negotiated his way OUT OF a fight on CBS and onto a fight on Showtime 2 months later. That’s pure incompetence.

        3) Their control of his matchmaking hurt his legacy. Not fighting credible opponents for years and then not signing with the biggest organization that could continue his legacy without question hurt how people will remember him. And he would have made a fortune on PPV with the UFC.

        There are a lot of ways to get a better deal. And they did that up to the point of rejected the big contract with the UFC before signing with Strikeforce. At that point, they showed they were horribly mismanaging his career.

        • Zack says:

          “3) Their control of his matchmaking hurt his legacy. Not fighting credible opponents for years”

          His legacy might be tarnished to UFC marks like yourself, but not to rational people who followed the sport.

          And when were these years that he didn’t fight credible opponents? Ahhhh the whole “since 2005” argument….who should he have fought at the time he took the Sylvia/Arlovski fights?

        • The Gaijin says:

          Let’s just all agree that we’ll go look up old threads on this argument and refrain from getting any further into the matter here (for the nth time).


        • Tomer says:

          1) There’s a very reasonable reason why the checks could be going to M-1 beyond that being an element of their agreement with Fedor insofar as fiduciary duty: they’re using M-1 as a pass-through entity to mitigate the potential of double taxation in both the US and Russia using the ASB 23 ‘look through rules’ and other tax shelters (I’m only knowledgeable in the Internal Revenue Code so I’m not sure what the tax code in Russia is). Is it possible that they’re pulling a Don King when he screwed Tim Witherspoon out of a bunch of money with fake expense reports to reduce his purse? Yeah, but we don’t know that for certain and given that they are an international party and given that the IRC gives favorable benefits for foreign parties that structure such entities, I’m going to lean towards that as the (open) reason for the structure.

          2) Ultimately, M-1 was legally bound due to their fiduciary obligations to maximize Fedor’s profitability, not necessarily get the best match-ups (which Ls in would have potentially cost him a long term cash flow stream, violating said duties), just like Al Haymon fights tooth and nail to give Andre Berto $1 million purses against the likes of Freddy Hernandez. If they felt that they could get comparable money over a longer period (assuming Fedor didn’t sink like a rock, which he did), the NPV of the Strikeforce option therefore made a boatload more sense than taking on the UFC contract, which made their obligation to push the Strikeforce option (as well as Affliction et al before it).

  4. Jonathan says:

    Is this really causing a “firestorm”, or is that just hyperbole?

  5. Chris says:

    This fight is smart from a business standpoint, Fedor coming off two losses, who was never really that marketable in the first place, his whole thing was being the unbeaten Russian, thats gone. So now coming off two losses with the money they pay him, having him fight a Cormier, Shane, before he was hurt, Griggs, is pointless.

    They couldnt bring him to the UFC and set up some fights, in teh UFC if they could have brought him over, paying him that money they could justify it by making PPV with Fedor vs Randy, the match finally happens, even if its years late and isnt gonna determine the best HW, or even a top 5 HW at this point. Fights vs Brock, JDS, Cain, Mir, Carwin, even Roy Nelson are bigger then Griggs, Shane, Cormier in SF.

    So this is a smart fight to make. Fedor vs Hendo, two legends fighting, its smart. Now it would be much bigger and a hell of alot better if this was a LHW title fight.

    Much much more intrigue in teh fight, how will Fedor react to the weight cut, how will he look at LHW, if he looks good and wins that sets up fights in SF and UFC. Fedor vs Mo, Feijao, Mousasi if they would fight, in the UFC anderson could move to LHW for that fight, Jon Jones, Page, Shogun, Forrest, Randy, Machida.

    If he won the SF LHW title and looked good his career would be reborn, no longer would he be the small HW, he would be the beast LHW and possible fights vs Anderson or Jon Jones, Shogun, Machida or Page would be mega fights in the UFC.

    Having this fight at HW is kind of stupid, yes the money they have to pay Fedor you have to get something out of it and like I said him fighting guys out of the HW GP like V Overeem, Griggs, Cormier isnt gonna cut it, not when he gets 1.5 mill a fight or more.

    SF made a deal with devil to try and get to the next level, you have to deal with it now. they had to resign him to get him in teh SF HW GP, so they are stuck with him. Now Zuffa has to figure out how to make money while paying him.

    If they cant bring UFC HW over then Hendo is the biggest fight they can make.

    But the report of Hendo getting 800k I dont believe at all. Why would he get that much? He didnt get even half that in the UFC, I dont think SF signed him to a huge deal like that so why would they go from 250k, 350k, even 400k a fight to 800k? I dont think they doubled his pay to take this Fedor fight.

    I dont believe he is getting that much at all.

    Maybe if this was in the UFC and on PPV he could get that kind of money with PPV sales but in SF on Showtime? I think thats bullshit.

    But yeah this fight is good for hardcore fans and its interesting but it would have so much more meaning in the overall mma landscape if it was at LHW for the title.

    A title always adds more to teh fight and the marketing of a fight but really it would gain alot of hype based on fans wanting to see how Fedor looks at LHW, after losing two in a row, his first two real losses, a drop to a more natural weight class could restart his career and the possibility of the fights at LHW i mentioned would really interest fans.

    But whatever, I’ll be watching.

    I expect Huerta signs with SF and fights Punk on this card, whats up with Jacare? When and who will he fight again?

    Miller left, Santiago signed with the UFC, Kennedy nobody really thinks thats a great fight right now. Mamed Khalidov would be the best option imo.

  6. David M says:

    Fedor’s management got him to be the highest paid fighter in mma in purse money. I dislike them as a fan, but from a business standpoint, they negotiated the highest upside and got a contract in which their fighter couldn’t be cut if he lost, unlike what happens in the UFC.

    LOL at Fedor’s legacy being tarnished. He was the best fighter in the entire world for years, and nothing will ever change that. At his best he was the best fighter in mma history, period.

    I enjoy 45 telling us what is in Fedor’s best interest, like he is in the know on this.

  7. […] Mystery of the Day: Why Gina Carano isn’t fighting. The early media reports yesterday noted that Scott Coker that she had trouble with her medicals in Texas (of all states), but Loretta Hunt put that to rest with this report. So, once again, Coker got caught in yet another contradiction (just like he did in relation to the Fedor/Henderson negotiations). […]


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