Last week, the world's undisputed best MMA heavyweight Fedor Emelianeko (31-1) made news when he chose not to appear on Strikeforce's upcoming CBS event this April. Immediately following this announcement rumours began circulating that Fedor would either choose to return to fighting in Japan, or possibly even sign with the UFC.
As it turned out, Fedor, along with his manager Vadim Finkelstein and their company M-1 Global, simply felt that the terms of their agreement with Strikeforce needed some minor tweaking. Specifically, they felt that, even though Strikeforce had agreed to their demands of 50-50 co-promotion, the existence of that partnership was not publicized well enough in the North American market. In hindsight, they have a very solid point in that regard as most people referred to the November event on CBS only as Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Rogers, thus including M-1's strongest bargaining chip, Fedor, without giving them their fair credit.
In any case, it now appears as though those concerns have been addressed fairly by all parties concerned and that, as a result, we can expect Emelianenko to return as early as this June on a M-1/Strikeforce card on CBS. His most likely opponent at this time would appear to be world #10 heavyweight Fabricio Werdum (13-4-1).
The following quote appears in an article on Sherdog.com and is attributed to M-1 Global's Director of Operations, Evgeni Kogan:
"I think June, July is realistic (for Emelianenko's return). It's not 100 percent. Don't take this as a fight announcement, but I think during the summer. After the CBS show, we thought that the (Strikeforce) terms needed a little bit tweaking -- nothing major, just a little bit of tweaking. So, we had a round of negotiations with Strikeforce. Everything went positively. We're pretty much at the end. For us, it's really important that the M-1 Global brand is acknowledged on these co-promotion events. As much as the partners made a lot of effort to acknowledge the co-branding, the media basically picked up on the fact that it was Strikeforce and kind of forgot about everything else, which wasn't the most ideal for us."
B.C. MMA Fan will, of course, keep you updated as the story develops.