There seems to be a whole lot of controversy over nothing regarding Fedor’s contract situation. Dana White and Zuffa say that Fedor is signed to Pride. Fedor is saying that they have a contractual agreement to fight for Pride, but that nothing is confirmed. What the hell does that mean? Is Fedor going to fight for Bodog forever? Yeah, not likely. Ask yourself this question : isn’t it more likely that Fedor is going to fight for whoever is going to make him richer?
Make no mistake about it, while Fedor most definately has nationalistic tendancies that mean a lot to him, his love of the mother country doesn’t render him dumb to the reality of the situation. Bodog might be a good venue to satisfy his urge to fight in his homeland and a nice place to perch during contract negotiations, but as it stands right now Bodog is not a viable long term home for the #1 heavyweight. The only decent fight they’ve managed to scrape together for him is against middleweight Matt Lindland. While Bodog has the capacity during the Pride purchasing confustion to snap up one or two other fighters, in the end their longterm roster is threadbare and they have no distinguishable business plan past marketing for Bodog’s other products. Fedor is essentially helping Bodog become bigger, not the other way around.
The main issue of staying outside the big leagues is that so long as Mirko is number 2, a loss for Fedor doesn’t just drop him out of the #1 slot, but it’s more likely to drop him to 4th, under Mirko and whoever manages to beat him. The tiny edge that Fedor holds over Mirko to claim #1 has only held up to this point because Mirko has had to start from scratch in the UFC. A win against Lindland would keep the two top names stationary for now, but in the next months Mirko will be facing the top names in a revitalized UFC heavyweight division. Unless Bodog manages to grab someone like Josh Barnett, I can’t see Fedor staying in the top 4 unless he returns to Pride.
You may be thinking I’m putting too much emphasis on the #1 spot. Sure, Fedor is a great aquisition regardless of his ranking. But the leverage that being number 1 gives cannot be emphasized enough. If Fedor wants to cash in and create a solid legacy, now is the time that he needs to move. He has the spot. He has a perfect nemesis in Mirko Crocop. All signs point to Fedor-CroCop 2 as being the quintessential Superbowl matchup Zuffa keeps talking about. The payday, and the fame that comes with being part of the biggest match if MMA history, would be amazing.
So tell me again why people think Fedor is going to stay with Bodog?