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Impact Report: Lessons Learned from Fedor’s Imminent Departure

When I first read yesterday’s report by Greg Savage of that stated Fedor Emelianenko has never signed a formal agreement with M-1 Global, I was left with the same reaction as just about everyone else: bewilderment.

And I mean, complete and total bewilderment. You know, the type of feeling you only experience when you wake up in the afternoon following a night of drinking nothing but grain alcohol.

I first read the report while on the phone with a friend and I was caught by the headline on my news reader. I had to take a look and when I did, all I could do was shake my head.

The thing that amazes me is the amount of money that was rumored to have been spent on that initial press conference in New York last October to announce that Sibling Sports had acquired M-1 from Vadim Finkelstein and his partners and had also signed Fedor as its signature star.

According to Savage, Fedor never signed anything more than a letter of intent. How do you conduct such a lavish press conference with nothing more than a signed letter of intent? That would have been like the Yankees sending out a press release and holding a presser at Yankee Stadium to announce they had re-signed Alex Rodriguez even though in reality he had only agreed to a deal in principle.

A deal is not done until all parties have signed a contract.

In light of this news, many people are claiming that Fedor is now officially a free agent. I beg to differ. While a signed letter of intent is not an ironclad contract, it would give Sibling a wobbly leg to stand on if they wanted to press the issue in a United States court of law. Yes, I’m not an attorney and I’m sure an overly-litiguous mind will try and question that statement but save your energy because it’s a moot point. Even in spite of a signed letter, the wheels are in motion to try and finalize an agreement that will make Fedor’s divorce from Sibling Sports official. Furthermore, it would not be surprising if M-1 assets were returned to Finkelstein and his partners in exchange for some or all of the up front it has received from Sibling.


  • Sam Cupitt says:

    How the hell can you have your marquee fighter agree to being with you but not sign a contract and then still exist for the next 6 months without freakin signing him?

    Just a strange little note. Didn’t Monte Cox recently that he doesnt have contracts with the fighter’s he manages? He just has an open working relationship and they can leave whenever?

  • […] free agent signing only to find out five months later that said fighter never signed a contract (see: Global, M-1) we can’t really believe much these […]

  • Gygax says:

    Maybe this is exactly why we never saw that flurry of new signings M1-Global promised in the weeks after the presser and also why Fedor signed to fight at Yarrenoka without president Monte Cox knowing anything about it until it was basically a done deal. You just know Dana White is laughing and muttering “those crazy Russians”. Doesn’t appear he was that far off.

  • ctownhood says:

    Fedor needs to take a more active and intelligent role in his business dealings. He has basically wasted a year of his career with nothing to show (sans the freakshow matchup with Choi). If he truly wants the Couture fight, he needs to make it happen now.

  • Evan says:

    For anyone who is rooting for Fedor to go to Golden Boys…you really need to ask yourself how much you want MMA to be involved with Boxing. In my opinion the less the better.

  • JayK95 says:


    This sounds more like a circle jerk rather than a MMA organization.

    Jay K.

  • GassedOut says:

    Like I said… “Zapodlo.”

  • A.C Slater says:

    I may just be a little naive here, and what we’re seeing in the world of MMA may just be indicative of a much larger issue, but what the hell is going on with all these shady dealings, backroom agreements, and shoddy legal advice? Where are the legal and financial advisers on these deals? It’s like the friggin’ wild west out there. From effed up corporate mergers right down to individual fighter contracts, it seems like you have a bunch of short-sighted, money-hungry, idiot-children running the sport. What gives?

  • mike wolfe says:

    Whether the contract was signed is an issue, but less than you would think. M-1 can argue that the letter of intent plus Fedor’s performance, including receipt of the signing bonus and fighting Choi, equals acceptance. A signature is the best, but not exclusive, way to prove acceptance.

    But even a signature on a contract doesn’t mean that all parties will live up to their obligations. (Insert snide remark about Couture here). Fedor and/or his management have had their own agenda throughout this relationship, and it seems markedly different than Monte Cox’s agenda. The question for Cox, and anybody else who wants to deal with Fedor, is what’s your recourse? Fedor’s a Russian citizen and will be difficult to sue and serve in the US. Even if M-1 gets a judgment in a US court, that doesn’t mean it will be recognized in Russia, which has God knows what for a civil justice system. Even if the judgment is enforceable in Russia, it’s only as good as Fedor’s assets. If he owns nothing, there’s nothing available to collect. You can’t get blood out of a stone.

    Given his or his management’s cavalier attitude towards contracts and relationships with fighter org.s, Golden Boy or UFC or whomever would have to think long and hard about a deal with Fedor. Substantial up-front payments before he steps into the ring/octagon seem like a very bad idea.

    In hindsight, M-1/Cox may have been too anxious to sign Fedor and let that overpower their better judgment about how to protect themselves. Moral of the story: It’s an evil and litigious world, kids, but not just in MMA.


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