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Golden Boy CEO Talks MMA, Expects to Promote Fedor Emelianenko on January 24

Golden Boy Promotions CEO Richard Schaefer was in Chicago today to promote the December 6 boxing match between Oscar De La Hoya and Manny Pacquiao, but I also pulled him aside for a minute to talk about mixed martial arts:

"It's an interesting sport and an attractive opportunity for us," Schaefer said of Golden Boy's involvement in MMA. "We have an existing promotional team in place and we think that there are opportunities for our company to be involved in the sport of mixed martial arts. We believe as well, as we did in boxing, in the empowerment of athletes."

Schaefer said Golden Boy and Affliction will most likely have their first MMA co-promotion on January 24, and that he expects Fedor Emelianenko to fight on that card. There's no official word yet on who Fedor's opponent will be, but the most likely choice is Andrei Arlovski, assuming Arlovski beats Roy Nelson in Saturday night's EliteXC show. When Schaefer talked about Arlovski off camera, his eyes lit up: He's clearly excited about promoting Arlovski.

Also off camera, Schafer told me he fully understands that Golden Boy isn't just going to waltz right in and overtake the UFC as the top dog in the MMA business, but that with time Golden Boy can become a real force in MMA – just as it took time for Golden Boy to overtake Don King at the top of the boxing promotion business. Schaefer sounds like he's serious about making it work.