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Report: Mark Cuban pursuing deal with Fedor Emelianenko

Sherdog is reporting that Dallas Mavericks’ owner Mark Cuban has expressed an interest in entering into a business relationship with Pride heavyweight champion Fedor Emelianenko.

The description of the relationship sounds as though Cuban is interested in obtaining promotional rights to Fedor. Cuban thus far does not have an ownership stake in an MMA promotion but MMA has been a mainstay on his cable network, HDNet.

In the past, HDNet has televised bouts from the WEC (prior to Zuffa acquiring the company) as well as the Art of War promotion in Dallas. The high definition cable channel is the current broadcast home of Richard Steele’s Steele Cage Promotions and the IFO.

Cuban indicated that under an agreement with Fedor, his promotional rights could be shared with multiple promotions or that Cuban could elect produce cards on his own that Fedor would appear on.

Forbes magazine reported Cuban’s net worth in 2007 to be $2.3 billion so he obviously has the capital needed to sign a star of Fedor’s magnitude. It’s uncertain if Cuban would promote one-off shows built around Fedor or if he has an interest in starting a full-time MMA promotion.

If Cuban were to start his own promotion he could potentially be a major threat to the UFC. If he were willing to earmark enough startup capital he could make a play for many high-profile fighters that are currently free agents. With his numerous media properties and resources, he’d have the distribution outlets needed to showcase their abilities.

Sherdog is promising an extensive interview with Cuban later this week.

  • steve says:

    $2.3 million? you mean $2.3 billion, right?

  • Accomando says:

    Never would have expected to read that Mark Cuban would becme a player in the Fedor sweepstakes.

  • Mark Cuban has been successful in a world with sharks, albeit on a legitimate playing field.

    This is the fight industry, however. It’s a whole different ballgame.

  • robnashville says:

    Sounds like Fedor’s contract would be kinda of a loss leader to get more folks in the door for HDNet. Cuban commented on sherdog that he gets high ratings from his basically non-descript MMA programming he has on now. I could see him signing Fedor to a personal services contract and loaning him out to other promotions as a bargaining chip to get other promotions to sign deals with HDNet.

  • Sam Caplan says:


    I have to disagree.

    Cuban has shown with the Mavericks that he’s willing to spend just about whatever it takes. He’s placed winning a championship as a higher priority than his bottom line. I don’t know the exact numbers but I don’t think the Mavs’ gross profit has been that great. When he sold he wanted to get involved in sports with the intent of winning. Dallas hasn’t won a title yet but it hasn’t been from a lack of trying. The Mavs have been more of a hobby for him than an investment.

    Calvin Ayre supposedly had billions but also had a bottom line. Cuban might not have one when it comes to MMA. We’ll have to see. But if he spends money on Fedor when he doesn’t even own a full-time promotion then that will speak volumes.

    Cuban doesn’t know the fight game but if he surrounded himself with people who did and was willing to spend like he does on the Mavs then Zuffa might have a serious rival when it comes to acquiring talent.

  • jt says:

    Oh jeez Zach. I’m gonna go ahead and tell you right now that any “sharks”in the fight game have the leverage and influence of a 9-year-old compared to the money and power being thrown around in the NBA waters that Cuban had to navigate with his “new money”. Money talks, guy, and Cuban is fluent. He took the shattyiest team in the league and turned it into one of the best.


    With that said, and I am from Dallas, so I’m biased, but Cuban has more capital than the Fertittas and Calvin Ayre combined. He has the resources to put on productions. Dallas Mavs games make UFC events look amatuer. You think im kidding, but i’m being completely. The guy can promote and put on a show. I think Sam is right when he says the UFC could potentially have a nice rival in Cuban.

  • […] Caplan at Five Ounces of Pain says if Cuban enters the world of MMA promoting he could be a major threat to the […]

  • jaydog says:

    I’d really like to know your perspective on the fact that Sherdog is not credentialed by the UFC as a member of the press. Most “serious” MMA fans consider the site to be an important outlet for info. I know you don’t work for Sherdog and wouldn’t want to get in the middle of any kind of UFC/Sherdog spat, but it would be nice to see a forecast of things to come or a justification of the current policy. Cheers.

  • Sam Caplan says:


    I find it best not to get in the middle of the squabble between Dana and Josh Gross.


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