Hours after I wrote that M-1 Global was closing its Netherlands office and that officials with the organization were panicking
in the wake of Fedor Emelianenko
's loss, I spoke with M-1 Global Director of Operations Evgeni Kogan
, who said the story was not true.
Kogan acknowledged that four employees of the promotion's Netherlands office have been "made redundant" in a "restructuring" of the company that took place over the last 10 days, but Kogan claims it's pure coincidence that M-1 chose to restructure after Emelianenko's loss. He said he himself is still at the Netherlands office, but he refused to name any other employees who remain there.
Despite Kogan's denials, one of the original sources has reiterated that in the days following Fedor's loss, Kogan told multiple employees of M-1's Netherlands office that they are losing their jobs because the office is closing. Told that Kogan had denied the original story, the source said Kogan was "lying."
Kogan declined to answer any questions about the status of the office, such as whether M-1 owns or leases the office space and whether the promotion has given a landlord notice of intent to move out or taken any steps toward selling the office. Kogan said he couldn't provide any details because it would be unfair to the employees who were recently let go.
"It's an internal matter," Kogan said. "The same thing as I wouldn't ask you what's going on in your office."
Kogan says M-1 Global cutting jobs in the wake of its highest-profile fighter losing his status as the sport's top heavyweight should not be construed as a sign that Fedor's loss hurt M-1's bottom line.
"We've restructured," he said. "It has nothing to do with Fedor's loss. ... What happened on June 26 doesn't affect M-1 as an organization."
I wrote that there was a sense of "panic" inside M-1 after Fedor lost, but Kogan said that while everyone at M-1 -- other than the always stoic Fedor -- was "upset," he didn't think "panic" was the right way to describe the reaction.
"It's unfortunate," Kogan said. "I was upset that it happened and so was everyone else. He himself was taking it the best. ... I was upset on a personal level, emotionally. ... It was emotionally, for me, upsetting. ... Everyone, obviously, was impacted by it. ... There has been no panic."
Responding to my report that investors were wary of staying in business with Fedor now that he's no longer the sport's heavyweight king, Kogan said Sergey Matvienko remains M-1 Global's primary investor, although he said he cannot speak for Matvienko, and he wouldn't get into any questions involving other investors.
"It's a privately owned company," Kogan said. "We're not public. You can't expect private companies to disclose that kind of information."
When I pointed out that other MMA promotions (including the UFC) have no problem disclosing who their investors are, Kogan said M-1 Global wouldn't follow suit.
"I have no idea why the UFC would make the decision to do that," Kogan said.
Kogan also took issue with the suggestion that Fedor and M-1 Global no longer have a strong hand to play as they negotiate with Strikeforce and Showtime about the third and final fight on Fedor's deal. Kogan acknowledged that M-1 demanded that Strikeforce renegotiate the contract between Fedor's first and second fights, but he said M-1 sees no reason to renegotiate between the second and third fights.
"I don't think it's about the strength of hands," Kogan said. "We have a deal. It is not going to be renegotiated again."