Yesterday word came out that M-1 Global's head office in the Netherlands was closed. From Michael David Smith's initial report:
Specifically, sources with knowledge of the situation say M-1 Global has closed its head office in the Netherlands, that some of M-1's investors have already cut ties with the organization, that officials within M-1 know they've lost most of their negotiating power, and that overall, according to one source, the people at M-1 are "panicking."
Netherlands office: Although M-1 Global was widely perceived in the United States as a Russian company because of its close ties to Fedor, it actually considered its office in the Netherlands to be the global headquarters. But that's not the case anymore, as the Netherlands office has ceased to exist. M-1 Global knows it can't count on as much income from Fedor in the future as it could in the past, and closing the Netherlands office was a cost-cutting move. As mixfight.nl first reported, the employees of M -1 Netherlands no longer work with the organization, although it's not clear what will happen to Dutch fighters with M-1 contracts.
Losing investors: During Fedor's reign as the sport's heavyweight king, M-1 Global had some wealthy businessmen it could count on when it needed an infusion of cash. Basically, these were businessmen who were willing to lose money on an investment in M-1 just because they liked being associated with the toughest man in the world. But Fedor no longer has that allure, and as a result those investors have signaled to M-1 that they won't be infusing any more cash in the promotion.
Eh, that article is 100% made up. There is not an ounce of truth to it.
There is no panic, Fedor retains his status in the sport (financially and in terms of perspective). To believe any different is to be out of touch with the business reality of MMA (or any other sport for that matter).
The head office in Holland is here and isn't going anywhere anytime soon. As are the offices in Russia, Ukraine, US and the affiliates in Asia.
M-1 remains healthy and has the same leadership and investors as it has had since 1997 (making it pretty much the longest running promotion out there).
We're looking forward to promoting the Selection finals in Moscow on the 22nd and the Semis in AC on August the 7th. Challenge will take place in the fall.
Of course, then it came out that yes, M-1 was restructuring and had let people go from the Netherlands office but it was just "coincidence" that it happened right after Fedor's loss. They also stated that Fedor's loss doesn't affect M-1 as an organization. The fired employees stated that they were told the office was closing though so it is unclear what the situation really is.
Now we're hearing that Strikeforce and M-1 are at odds yet again over Fedor's contract and his next fight. Again MDS of MMA Fighting with the news:
Despite M-1 Global's claims that there's nothing left to negotiate before the third and final fight on Fedor Emelianenko's contract with Strikeforce, Strikeforce says at least one issue does need to be negotiated: A champion's clause in the contract that would prevent Fedor from leaving to fight in another promotion if he becomes the Strikeforce champion.
M-1 Global says it wants Fedor's next fight to be a rematch with Fabricio Werdum, who beat Fedor on June 26. But Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker has said that his preferred option for Fedor's next fight is a bout with Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem, and Strikeforce spokesman Mike Afromowitz told MMAFighting.com that a champion's clause is going to be negotiated.
So now we're heading into a period where for the second straight time Strikeforce is trying to put on a title fight involving a guy who lost his last fight and again M-1 is trying to dictate what Strikeforce has to do. It's an ugly situation that will probably result in a long holding out period for Fedor again and with a fighter whose relevant years are already slipping away this is a dangerous situation for M-1 to put itself in.
Whatever the truth is on the closing of the Netherlands office it is pretty clear that M-1 is losing power and M-1 without power is M-1 in trouble.