It’s been a day since we squashed the ‘rumors’ that M-1 Global wasn’t compensating their employees and that they’re roughly 15-20 million dollars in debt. Evgeni Kogan was kind enough to entertain these rumors with the best answers he could think of while being caught somewhat off-guard with questions no Director of Operations wants to be faced with. Luckily he kept his cool while he told us all the nasty rumors are untrue and M-1 Global is doing just fine. In fact, he even told us they plan on going forward with an M-1 Challenge event at the end of the year (an event that features the hottest ring-girls on the planet) and that they’ve got several key prospects they’re very proud of showcasing this year. We then ended our call by thanking Mr. Kogan for his time as he kindly referred us to his PR department should we have more rumors based on future hearsay to debunk. Phew! At first we thought we may have gone a bit too far with some of our questions, but luckily we were able to confirm that none of those rumors were true and when our heads hit our pillows last night, we had sweet dreams of hot Russian ring girls and knowing all is well with M-1 Global.
Then we woke up…
This morning, Michael David Smith reported that the main office for M-1 Global in the Netherlands has “ceased to exist” and its respective employees are no longer with the company. Since Fedor’s loss to Fabricio Werdum only ten days ago, several wealthy-businessmen who played roles as investors behind Fedor are no longer allured by his invincibility and they’ve subsequently retracted their willingness to continue funding the promotion. Between that and Fedor’s first loss having a profound effect on M-1’s bargaining ability in future co-promotion with Strikeforce, it seems to be inconsistent with Kogan’s theory that all is well with the organization. If true, it would indicate that the organization is in a considerable bit of financial difficulty, but Kogan issued these statements on his twitter page to combat the Fanhouse reports:
Since the cat is out of the bag, we can share some more details of this M-1 situation with everyone that we’ve known about for about a week now: It all started back at a show in Finland where M-1 allegedly didn’t pay the fighters the $500-$800 salaries they were promised. Further allegations include that M-1 had the Selection series without any intent of using those guys for their subsequent Challengers series and M-1 allegedly shopping Fedor around to the UFC while still under an exclusive contract with Strikeforce. If you haven’t already done it yet, now would be a great time to check out the remainder of the allegations Evgeni Kogan denied in our exclusive interview.
At this point, we’re not sure who to believe and we’ll continue to update you as new developments pour in, but it appears both Fanhouse and M-1 Global are fiercely standing behind their stories. On a personal note: As a writer and a photographer who’s covered M-1’s events in the past, I’ve got nothing against M-1 Global. In fact, my experiences with the organization were overwhelmingly positive. That being said, I’m going to take the Matrix approach that Morpheus taught me by offering the truth, and nothing more. MiddleEasy.com stands behind our story 100% and we hope the coming days will clean up what’s true and what isn’t. Until then, I think the whole world needs to calm down and have a burrito because they’re delicious. While you’re at it, let’s hope we’ll get to see more Russian ring girls later this year.
Editors note: Around this time last year, Affliction collapsed and we were right there. Sports Illustrated’s Josh Gross said four M-1 employees were released as part of corporate ‘restructuring’. CBSSports.com editor, Denny Burkholder, pointed out that the EliteXC ‘restructured’ shortly before they collapsed. Everyone put on your seat belt, we are in for one wild roller coaster ride this week.