After a few times out as a U.S. co-promoter, M-1 Global hosts its first televised, stateside solo outing on Showtime on Friday night. The event, M-1 Challenge XXIV, is one of four on a new TV deal as the European company tries to move past being known solely as Fedor Emelianenko
That day is still a while off though, as long as Emelianenko is around. And despite losing his second straight, Strikeforce expects to bring the Russian great back into the fold for a summer return, Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker
told MMA Fighting.
Even two weeks after the Zuffa-Strikeforce ownership deal, Coker said the two sides have yet to discuss the change, citing the breakneck developments of the recent past on both sides. Still, he says the relationship will continue on as normal, and that summertime is the target date for Emelianenko to find his way back into the cage.
"I know they're aware of it, and they're just expecting to fight and have co-promotions, and all that will stay the same," Coker said. "Fedor will fight in July or August at some point. They'll get everything that's promised to them. Nothing's really changed. Those promotions will happen. Fedor will fight."
As far as who he might be facing, that part is no guarantee. Strikeforce has meetings set up over the next few days to talk about several future plans, and Emelianenko's next opponent is one of the items on the agenda.
One option that doesn't seem likely? Dan Henderson
The 40-year-old just captured the light-heavyweight belt after knocking out Rafael "Feijao" Cavalcante, and despite repeatedly voicing an interest in fighting Emelianenko, Coker said he thinks Henderson might be "a little bit small" to face the heavyweight.
Emelianenko weighed in at 230 pounds for his last fight against Antonio Silva while Henderson cuts hardly any weight to make his 205-pound divisional limit. Still, despite Henderson's willingness, Coker seemed lukewarm to the possibility of the two MMA greats squaring off.
"I'm thinking the weight difference might be too much," he said. "Can that gap be bridged? I'm not sure. But I know Dan will fight anybody. He'll fight anybody in a fight booth. It doesn't matter to him."