Manager: UFC has a big chance to sign Fedor
The ever awesome Submission Radio caught up with M-1 Global founder and manager of Fedor Emelianenko, Vadim Finkelchtein, and got the answer to everything you wanted to know about Fedor's return.
One of the sticking points to Fedor signing with the UFC was that his manager insisted on a co-promotion with M-1 Global, in addition to a large purse for the fighter. That is no longer a requirement.
“Well, when it comes to M-1 we are not really interested in any kind of co-promotion,” said Vadim. “M-1 is a self-contained, European promotion which has no less than 12 shows a year, and this number is about to grow every year.”
“Well, actually we can talk about this. It depends on many things. It’s complicated to make a co-promotion. It’s a hard thing. It’s about money, and when it comes to Fedor, it's only his choice. He has a very wide choice of MMA organizations in the world, and who will make a better offer to him will get Fedor.”
M-1 co promoted with Strikeforce when it was run by Scot Coker. With Coker now running Bellator, could there be a promotion with the world's #2 organization?
“I don’t think that a co-promotion with Bellator is possible,” said the manager. “The other time when we co-promoted with Strikeforce [it was] because Fedor had a contract with M-1. Now it’s a different story. And, well to repeat what I said before, I want to say that M-1 don’t really need any co-promotion.”
There were failed negotiations in the past, but Vadim said what's past is passed.
“Well I don’t think that story can influence somehow Fedor’s decision to choose UFC or any other MMA promotion,” he said. :If they will make a good offer to him that will be good for himself, then he can accept this. Also Bellator can make a better offer. So I don’t think that situation can influence it somehow.”
“Dana talked a lot, talked a lot about Fedor, about Vadim, and he talked bad. But Fedor understands that it all was just PR. He’s not in a bad relations with Dana and he doesn’t feel anything bad about him.”
The UFC reportedly expressed interest in buying M-1 Global and their library. Finkelchtein said the league is no longer for sale.
“It was a completely different situation then,” said the manager. “We had some financial problems then. And now I’m not going to sell M-1 to anywhere because we are growing and developing. We have no less than 12 events a year, and the next year we are going to have 14 or 16 events. We have a lot of sponsors, we have support, and we started to make the “M-1 arena” for 3,000 people in St Petersburg. So it’s no more financial problems and no matter for me to sell to M-1.”
One possible issue could be the Reebok Deal, as Fedor would not be able to wear his sponsor's into the Octagon, but the manager thought that would not prove to be an impossible issue.
“I’m not sure, but I don’t think it’s going to be a big problem because I think Rebook is interested in Fedor as well as the UFC,” he said. “And I think if they really want this they will find some ways.”
Vadim was asked point blank if the UFC has the best shot.
“Well I think UFC have a big chance to sign Fedor,” said the manager. “It depends on what offer they will make. If Dana would not only talk, but do some things [and] will make a good offer to Fedor, they have a big chance then.”
In Feb UFC color commentator Joe Rogan said it was impossible to say for sure, but he thought the possibility was high that Fedor used PEDs. Vadim denied that categorically.
“Well, actually we never put a big attention on that PR tricks, and Joe Rogan’s words were those kind of PR things,” said the manager. “I am a friend of Fedor, I was his manager, and I know he never used any doping. People even asked him “why don’t you use this? Why don’t you take this medicine?” and so on, but he never did this. He just ate healthy food, trained a lot, and stayed healthy. He never used any doping.”
Randy Couture recently said he is feeling the itch to fight again.
“From my point of view this fight would be interesting,” said Vadim. “They are both legends and great fighters, but I can’t talk about Fedor. I think that can be interesting for him because years ago it was interesting for him.”
UFC lightweight Khabib Nurmagomedov recently said he hoped Fedor understands that MMA has changed a lot.
“Fedor never actually never left MMA, he just didn’t fight,” said Vadim. “He was always involved. He saw the level of the fighters, he saw the level of the champions, and well he was involved. He didn’t miss anything. He has trained constantly and been self-active. Furthermore, he had never used any kind of doping. All of his power and all of his strength was gained by the hard work only. So this vacation only even benefited him because he didn’t have all that condition downfall that it’s users typically experience when they stop using it.”
“Before he decided to retire, Fedor was working hard, training and fighting a lot during his whole career, and he was tired, both physically and mentally. So he decided himself [that] it was time to stop. And that was a common decision, and I was doing my best to make him come back. Now he decided to come back, but he never stopped training. He always gave master-classes, always had sparring, and so on. So his physical form is very good now. He didn't lose anything. All he needs now is some time to get ready to get prepared, because I see fire in his eyes. He is ready mentally to fight. All he needs is to take some training and he will be able to beat any fighters and the strongest fighters in the world.”