Emelianenko’s original opponent, Josh Barnett, was forced out of the fight yesterday after testing positive for steroids during a random pre-fight screening.
Belfort, a middleweight who was scheduled to fight Jorge Santiago on the card, has agreed in principle to fight Fedor, but other options continue to be explored.
Emelianenko’s management, maintaining that their client is open to fighting anyone, made it clear at a press conference earlier Thursday that they’d prefer a fight with undefeated Strikeforce heavyweight contender Brett Rogers, who is coming off a knockout of Arlovski. Strikeforce maintains that Rogers, and fellow Strikeforce heavyweight contender Fabricio Werdum, won’t be fighting on August 1.
The latest possible opponent to appear in rumors is veteran heavyweight Jeff Monson, a Division I wrestler and Jiu Jitsu black belt, who should be in fighting shape with fights already scheduled for August 29 and September 15. Monson said earlier today that his name is “in the mix” in the pay-per-view headliner.
Affliction’s Tom Atencio stressed during a conference call with the media yesterday that rumors are just rumors until he announces a matchup, though an opponent is still expected to be officially named shortly.
[Pictured: Jeff Monson]