Fedor Emelianenko Likely To Return In JuneNumber one-ranked heavyweight “The Last Emperor” Fedor Emelianenko will likely return to Strikeforce action in June. The stoic Russian’s M-1 Global management group is currently involved in contract renegotiations with the California-based MMA promotion. Both parties confirmed to Sherdog.com last night that a reworked deal is nearly in place.

Emelianenko last competed for Strikeforce on November 7, 2009 when he knocked out previously undefeated challenger Brett “The Grim” Rogers in front of millions of viewers on primetime CBS television.

Speculation has run rampant over the past week amidst reports that there were problems between Strikeforce and M-1 Global. At issue is the latter’s belief that there was insufficient M-1 Global branding during Emelianenko’s lone Strikeforce appearance at the co-promoted Strikeforce/M-1 Global: “Fedor vs Rogers” event. While the two parties work together to come up with a solution, Emelianenko will remain on the sidelines and a proposed May bout with Fabricio “Vai Cavalo” Werdum is now on hold.

Both Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker and M-1 Global Director of Operations Evgeni Kogan stated that Emelianenko would most likely be back in action by summer, with both citing the month of June as a preferred target. Kogan said that he was unaware of previous comments attributed to M-1 Global President Vadim Finkelchstein which suggested that Strikeforce had breached the terms of its contractual agreement with M-1 Global.

Kogan further discussed rumours of internal power struggles within M-1 Global and reaffirmed that nothing had changed aside from “minor tweaking.” He did confirm that the company is working less with Gary “Jerry” Millen, the former U.S. representative for Pride Fighting Championships. Millen has retained his role in developing the M-1 Challenge events, but will no longer be involved with M-1 Selection shows.

Reports that Emelianenko had reinjured his hand in a recent Sambo competition and would be sidelined as a result also appear to be untrue. Kogan stated that Emelianenko had voluntarily withdrawn from the Sambo tournament in order to avoid facing his brother, Aleksander, and that no injury had taken place. M-1 Global remains in talks with Strikeforce, but the optimistic outlook suggests that the world’s top heavyweight could be back inside a Strikeforce cage soon.


(Photo Credit: Sherdog.com)