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July 28, 2014

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Fedor not in UFC, but on the cover of EA Sports video game

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Mixed martial arts heavyweight fighters Josh Barnett (left) and Russia’s Fedor Emelianenko appear in New York on June 3, 2009, during a press conference for Affliction’s August event in Anaheim, Calif. The event and fighting promotion were canceled after Barnett tested positive for a banned substance.

The latest chapter in the Fedor Emelianenko saga came in and went on Wednesday with little action.

Sure the Russian heavyweight, regarded by many mixed martial arts pundits as the world’s top fighter, announced that he will be the new cover boy for EA Sports’ upcoming video game titled “EA Sports MMA” — but the Octagon-shattering news UFC fans were hoping for, that Emelianenko would announce he’s signing with the world’s premiere MMA promotion, will have to wait until Friday, if ever.

“Our offer was very simple. We offered to have a co-promotion — two fights, three fights, doesn’t matter,” M-1 Global CEO Vadim Finkelstein, the head of the promotion company representing Emelianenko, told Sherdog.com at a press conference Wednesday in Anaheim.

“And we were ready to invest in that show together and to get the profit together. But the UFC made a different offer that was a very good offer. But the same offer (they made), we can actually make to their champion. We can also offer millions to them and one, two, three, four fights to them.”

Sounds like the negotiations that appeared to be close to finalization on Tuesday have broken down.

Finkelstein said Emelianenko says he is willing to work with the UFC, but not if the UFC refuses to co-promote.

“The offer which was made by the UFC is not interesting for us,” Emelianenko said. “I completely trust Vadim and I completely trust our team in M-1 Global."

Strikeforce’s CEO, Scott Coker, attended Wednesday’s news conference and told Sherdog that Emelianenko has “four or five offers on the table.”

“We're not going to wait,” said Finkelstein, who said he and Emelianenko were leaving Wednesday night for Russia. “We have to move forward. It might be that very soon we will be able to make a deal with some other promotion.

“I'm going to tell you that we're only going to work under co-promotion conditions.”

By just signing with EA Sports, Emelianenko appears to be breaking UFC President Dana White’s strict policy that any fighter who partners with a rival video game company other than THQ, the UFC’s official partner which released its successful UFC 2009 Undisputed in May, will be banned from competing in the UFC. Randy Couture, who signed with EA while he was out of the UFC, is the exception to the rule.

Officials announced Wednesday that "EA Sports MMA" will also feature Gegard Mousasi and Renato "Babalu" Sobral.

“I have fought all over the world and I am excited to be in EA Sports MMA because this game is going to show the global appeal of mixed martial arts," said the 6-foot, 231-pound Emelianenko, who sports a 30-1 MMA mark.

"I know MMA fans have been wanting to play as me and pitting me against any opponent. Now they will have their opportunity."

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