Championat.com: The decision of Fedor to conitnue his career, did the majority of the decision belong to Fedor, or the pressure from contract obligations ?
Vadim Finkelstein: A little bit of everything. Of course, the decision is based on Fedor's personal wish to continue. The contract obligations were secondary here. If Fedor wanted to stop, no contract would stop him. Fedor listened to the opinion of his friends, fighters and fans and made a decision. Emelianenko, at the moment is a very busy athlete, we talked to him and decided that we should not exit in this manner. Fedor is healthy and full of strength, he is ready to fight. Fedor is 34 years old. This is the best peak for heavyweight fighters. Dan Henderson for instance fights at 41, and wins. Emelianenko can fight for 5 more years at a high level, for him, this is just the beginning. He has no big injuries, and because of that, it would be incorrect to stop now.
CT: What will be Fedor's return ? Is there a possibility that Fedor fights in Russia ?
VF: Yes, we want to make a fight in Russia. We started working towards this. If all goes well, in the fall, we will organize a show in Moscow or in St. Petersburg, where Fedor's fight will be the main event.
CT: This fight will be organized by M-1 Global, without any other promotion ?
VF: Absolutely right. We are organizing this fight with our own resources. Now, on the market, we have noone to work with. Strikeforce slowly but surely is dying, under the direction of their new owners, Zuffa. All the problems with firing fighter and changes and other things — this is all the work of Dana White. He cannot close the company, but he can create all conditions for that to happen soon. In my opinion, he is doing that well. We are determined to follow our own way, develop under our own direction. Showtime will be a partner. Americans are ready to support us and show Fedor's Russian fight.
CT: Who will be Fedor's opponent ?
VF: There are many possibilities. I personally want so that the opponent is one of the great fighters from Pride's best times. It would be good if it was an interesting and competitive fighter, like for instance, Kevin Randleman. At any rate, we will chose a competitive, respected around the world fighter.
CT: American fans are probably interested to know, that after the 1-2 marquee fights for Fedor, he returns to USA and fights top fighters there ?
VF: We are also counting on this. I am hoping that after the fights in Russia, we will agree with the japanese for a fight on New Years' Eve in Japan. If all goes well, we will return to the USA in 2012. All these ideas are still in-progress, but ideally, that is the scheme that we would like to achieve.
CT: How are currently the contracts with Showtime ? Were they any changes or agreements ?
VF: With Showtime, we had agreed to show the fights in a 3+1 format. The contract could change if Fedor lost 2 in a row, which he did, and now the contract is stopped. This is a normal working process. Logically, Showtime will change some points in the contract. But our cooperation will not stop there. Showtime is interested to work with us, and we are interested to work with them. To confirm my words, Showtime will show Fedor's fight in Russia. This is a big and expensive project, which will take our cooperation to new heights.
CT: Fighting at home, according to many fans, is a big plus for Fedor, not only because he will have local fans, but also due to not having to undergo adaptation: no long flights, acclimatization, and all other negative factors...
VF: I absolutely agree. In fact, it is due to that that we took a decision to organize Fedor's next fight in Russia: he will need no time adaptation, there will no other pressure, and so his body will be fully in tact. Fedor needs to have 2 fights, so he can taste winning again and then return to the USA for a payback time. I am sure that Fedor can do that. He needs to start little by little and slowly increase the intensity.
CT: Do you think it is enough to just change where the fight is ? Or how about Fedor's training methods and format of preparation ? Don't you think big corrections are needed ?
VF: Big changes, nobody needs. It is needed that more time is spent in having greater variety during preparation: visit some famous fighting schools, do some sparring, exchange experience, and may be change your style a bit. Even Henderson offered Fedor help, so we have choices, but we need to realize this in practice. A fighter needs to develop, if he stops, thats it, his song is sung (i.e. he is done). The same, we can say for his trainers. MMA develops fast and so it follows that all participants (aka coaches as well) must develop.
CT: Many experts are convinced: Emelianenko needs to change coaches. Even Fedor's brother, Alexander, said that about Fedor's current coaches: Vladimir Voronov and Alexander Michkov.
VF: I don't know, I have not raised this question. In reality, it is hard for me to say, because I am not a master of any sport, so I cannot evaluate the work of his coaches. I try not to interefere in their work. The only thing which I can suggest is, as a fan, not to get too in depth in details. But one thing is clear: something needs to be changed.
CT: Vadim, as a manager and a close friend of Fedor, don't you think that religion interferes with Fedor's preparation ?
VF: I don't think so. Thrust in God, on the opposite, gives him strenght, makes him more disciplined. I know Fedor and I can say that faith made him a better person. Fedor's problem is a little different: he is a very proper person. For example, when Fedor follows religious fasts, during his fight preparation, his body does not get vital nutrients. To compensate, there are many legal supplements. But Fedor completely refuses to take any of this. As a result, what happens is that, when the fight starts, his body is not in its best shape, unlike for instance, say Henderson, with him, all is good, for the simple reason, that he takes afformentioned supplements.
CT: What are Fedor's plans in the near future ?
VF: This month, Fedor will take a holiday. He needs to be with his family. His wife had a hard time giving birth. Now, thank God, all is good, daughter is born, and healthy too. In September, I think to take Fedor to Holland. I think that he needs a full training camp in Holland. There are good conditions there so that he can benefit and build the fundament for the future.
Read entire interview... (original Russian language)