Emelianenko Off April Card, Still Fighting Werdum

Strikeforce will have a card on CBS in April, but their crown jewel won’t be participating.

M-1 Global officials today said during a press conference that Fedor Emelianenko will indeed be fighting Fabricio Werdum, but that it won’t happen until May. That’s not good news for Strikeforce, who had hoped to pair the Emelianenko/Werdum bout with a Dan Henderson/Jake Shields title bout in order to create a strong second network outing. But because Emelianenko’s contract stipulates that his fights must be broadcast on CBS — and not premium sister station Showtime — the April card could instead be televised on Showtime, with the May outing assuming the CBS slot.

The promotion has confirmed that the show will take place April 17 in Nashville. An official announcement with more details is expected next week.

With Emelianenko ruled out as a possible main event contender, it’s likely that the honor will go to Dan Henderson and Jake Shields. Henderson, challenging for the Strikeforce middleweight title in his debut for the promotion, signed with the company after leaving the UFC last year.

The Shields/Henderson bout wasn’t smooth sailing, either. Sources told Heavy.com last week that Shields and Coker were at an impasse over money during negotiations for a new contract. Shields wanted a significant pay increase before signing to face Henderson, while Coker wanted Shields to fight for his original contract amount.