Fedor Emelianenko has signed a promotional contract with Strikeforce, delivering one of the top pound-for-pound fighters to a company that is quickly raising its profile in the mixed martial arts industry.

The Russian heavyweight became a free agent when the Affliction promotion collapsed following the failed drug test of Josh Barnett, who was supposed to face Emelianenko in the main event of a card last Saturday at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif.

Emelianenko had been courted by the UFC, but decided to join Strikeforce because it was willing to co-promote with M-1 Global, which is part-owned by Emelianenko.

UFC president Dana White has long had a policy of refusing to work with other promotions.