In one of the most anticipated fights in mixed martial arts history, Fedor Emelianenko will be taking on Josh Barnett as part of the Affliction 3 main event. The bout has been in the works for quite some time now, especially back when the Japanese promotion ‘PrideFC’ existed. Barnett argues that the fight was never actually arranged due to his friendship with the Russian Sambo fighter. According to Barnett, they would hang out a lot just like regular friends would such as going to dinner or celebrating each other’s birthdays. Barnett continues to appreciate the friendship he has built with Fedor, but he also understands the professionalism involved as a fighter. Basically business and friendship are two separate things, so he is ready to fight because that is his job. Fighting as part of the mixed martial arts sport doesn’t mean he still can’t be friends with Fedor after their battle.
Snip from Barnett:
“When we were in Japan we spent time together, we’d go out and have dinner and hang out together, we’d wish each other happy birthdays, and do the stuff that regular friends do…we understand in this sport, of course, people will develop friendships. But at the same time, in our business, you’ll fight, and we’re OK with that. … I just make sure I’m in good shape to fight whoever’s in front of me. If I were to fight Fedor I think it’d be a great match and I don’t think there’d be any problem”
The current UFC interim heavyweight champion Frank Mir disagrees with what Barnett has to say about not being able to fight Fedor in the past few years. Mir doesn’t believe they were every really close friends especially since they wouldn’t be able to understand each other’s native tongues, Barnett speaks only English while Fedor speaks only Russian. Nonethless, Mir picked Fedor over Barnett for their ultimate battle on August 1st, 2009.
Snip from Frank Mir himself:
“I think Fedor is No. 1 for a reason,” Mir said. “I think I would have to slide towards him for the fight. Especially since Josh has made some statements where it’s like, ‘Yeah, we’re friends and I don’t want to fight him. I’m like, ‘Dude, he doesn’t speak English and you don’t speak Russian. How good of friends could you possibly be?”