Fedor Emelianenko, UFC finalizing deal
A long-awaited agreement between the Ultimate Fighting Championship and the man considered the world's best mixed martial arts fighter, Fedor Emelianenko, is expected to be announced by UFC President Dana White on Friday, a source with information about the negotiations told The Times today.
The source, who asked not to be identified because he's not authorized to speak publicly about the dealings, called negotiations between the UFC and Fedor "very civil" just days after Fedor's scheduled Affliction Trilogy fight Saturday against Josh Barnett was canceled.
Affliction wound up folding its MMA promotion activities and announced an apparel deal to sponsor UFC.
Now, Fedor, who has previously fought in organizations including PRIDE Fighting Championships in Japan, Bodog Fight and Affliction, is crossing over to the world's most successful MMA fighting organization, as well.
With a 30-1 record that includes victories over former UFC heavyweight champions Tim Sylvia, Andrei Arlovski and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Emelianenko would likely get an immediate shot at reigning UFC heavyweight champ Brock Lesnar.
The source, who is not affiliated with the UFC, said officials were discussing details on the public announcement of the deal, which in the past has been complicated by Emelianenko's resistance to accept UFC's standard six-fight contract and his unwillingness to surrender some merchandising and marketing revenues.
But this month White said he was optimistic he could bring Emelianenko aboard, and his confidence was well-placed. The UFC declined to elaborate on Friday's scheduled announcement.
-- Lance Pugmire
Photo: Fedor Emelianenko weighs in for his July 2008 fight against Tim Sylvia in Anaheim. Credit: Lori Shepler / Los Angeles Times