I think one of the big problems with this is ethnicity... The steriotipical proud Russian, wants to be able to fight infront of his home crowd... Something that he will not be able to do any time in the near future if signing with the UFC. This might seem trivial to us, or to Dana, but it seems to be the one of the problems holding this deal back.
As for the Sambo competitions, that just doesn't make any sense to me... If Zuffa lets fighters participate in Abu Dhabi, why wouldn't he let them do so in other similar competitions?
I think that Zuffa is more than happy to throw a lot of money at Fedor (IMO he is more than deserving), but money might not be the only factor that decides what the best #4# fighter on the planet does with the rest of his career.
I know that the UFC has been burned in the past... When Randy left and when BJ left, both with the belts, and both because of money... I think the financial side of MMA (at least the UFC) has developed to the point, where this wouldn't be much of an issue any longer, as long as a fighter makes what he and his employer think that he's worth (in Fedor's case that would be a lot)
Boxing was literally killed by promoters like Don King, and while they made their money... They killed a sport that brought us names like Marciano, Ali, Duran & Leonard... I am not saying anything this way or that, but any of a number of things could be the begging of a slippery slope.
Sorry about the long post and my atrocious spelling
I think the UFC should, and will, let Fedor compete in SAMBO comp's. That's not the complete problem though. Finkelstein is an idiot. He's not out for Fedor's best interests more than he is for himself. He said that he should organize the UFC events in Russia. That's absurd. Dana and the Fertitas are not going to let him organize the events just so he can make more money.
With whats happened w/PRIDE, the UFC is the best MMA organization in the world, and getting Fedor, the best HW and maybe the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world, will absolutely solidify this fact. They need to do whatever they can to get Fedor- except letting his manager ride the UFC's coattails into more money that isn't deserved or even reasonable.
What the hell anyway, Fedor isn't going to have to travel much more w/the UFC than he had to w/Pride. Especially since there will be more events in Europe, and in my opinion, eventually Russia.