• Strikeforce: Emelianenko v Henderson

Coker wants Emelianenko to sign new Strikeforce deal

ESPN staff
August 1, 2011
Dan Henderson's win over Fedor Emelianenko was the best fight in Strikeforce's history, according to Scott Coker © Getty Images

Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker insists he still wants Fedor Emelianenko to fight for Strikeforce, despite suffering a third straight defeat against Dan Henderson at the weekend.

Emelianenko had previously fallen to Fabricio Werdum and Antonio Silva, and his most recent loss to Henderson - via TKO - leaves his future in serious jeopardy at the age of 34. Undoubtedly the highest paid individual on the Strikeforce roster, Emelianenko is no longer producing the performances to justify his salary.

The Russian's contract expired after the Henderson fight, raising question marks over whether Strikeforce would aim to renew. In the eyes of Coker, who also must negotiate with Henderson, there is little to think about.

"As far as fighting in Strikeforce, I hope we have them both back," he confirmed to MMA Fighting.

Part of Coker's justification for that stance is the fact he believes Henderson and Emelianenko just put on the best fight in Strikeforce history. Hendo claimed the win after four minutes and 12 seconds, after both men had been hurt in a violent encounter.

"If you look at that fight, I think it stands right up there," Coker said. "If you look back at the history of Strikeforce, which is relatively a newer company, I think the ones that stand out in my mind are, in our early days, Frank Shamrock fighting Cung Le - that was an unbelievable matchup. And Nick Diaz fighting Paul Daley this year - unbelievable fight.

"And [on Saturday], I think this one probably tops those two. So arguably one of the best fights in the history of our company."

Meanwhile Henderson, who has beaten the likes of Wanderlei Silva and Vitor Belfort over the years, puts Emelianenko "right at the top". "I admire Fedor as a fighter, and he's very dangerous," said Hendo. "This means a lot more to me than some of the victories that I've had, personally. But I'm a huge fan of his, and I hope that he continues."

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