The problem with basing your entire promotion around the acquisition of one fighter is that if that fighter goes down, you’re fucked. Thus is the position of M-1 as they wade into the battleground that is MMA. They came into existence for Fedor. They bought M-1 for Fedor. They expect other fighters to come because of Fedor. Is this the MMA equivalent of “Field of Dreams” or what!
M-1 won’t always be completely dependant on Fedor to carry their organization. But you better believe that Fedor is just as important to M-1 as Beckham was for the Los Angeles Galaxy. But MMA is not soccer, where you can suck balls for a long time and still be a fan favorite. The moment Fedor loses a fight, he loses his spot as #1 in the world. And with that much of his mystique and a lot of his value disappears.
M-1 probably realizes this and will most likely feed Fedor a number of softballs as the company gets on their feet. Jeff Monson, Ricardo Arona, and Rickson Gracie have all been mentioned as potential opponents for the big Russian. The only mention of Josh Barnett has been from Monte Cox saying “Josh looks like he’ll be signing with another company”. I dunno if that’s true, but you better believe M-1 isn’t about to match Fedor up with the most dangerous free agent on the market. It’s simply too dangerous of a business decision to make.
It’s a funny situation and just another example of how MMA is one of the most interesting sports to follow in terms of business wheeling and dealing. It kinda sucks that Fedor has basically become a pawn in the game promoters are playing, but you can blame that on his managers for being balls deep in that game.
In the end all we can really hope for is that eventually Fedor will get his day in the ring with the Josh Barnetts and the Randy Coutures of the sport. But I wouldn’t bet on it happening before M-1 has grown enough not to need Fedor to survive.