Here’s an exclusive interview with M-1 Global President Vadim Finkelstein. He talks about the future of Fedor Emelianenko in Strikeforce, the possibilities of Fedor signing with the Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC), M-1 Global fighters and much more:
Can you tell if Fedor had any training partners to prepare him to the level of Fabricio Werdum’s Jiu-Jitsu?
It doesn’t matter. I’ll tell you what: the fact that Fedor got caught means nothing. There were so many people who tried to submit him throughout the years, but he always managed to escape and destroy his opponents.
Strikeforce are talking now about the fight against Alistair Overeem, and then against Fabricio Werdum. Do you think it’s because of their intentions to keep Fedor at Strikeforce as long as possible?
We are ready to fight against anyone, but everyone agrees that the most interesting fight right now is the rematch against Fabricio Werdum. We have one fight left on our contract, so if Strikeforce want to extend it – they should listen to our opinion. Fedor will fight again sometime between October and November. I’ll repeat that again: the only thing fans want to see is Fedor vs Werdum II. Fabricio himself said that he would like to rematch Fedor in Russia. It’s great, but this fight will not happen in Russia.
How much it would cost to organize an event of that caliber in Russia?
At least 3 million dollars. The TV revenue will be considerably lower, because the Americans would not like to watch the fight at 2pm. The Russian channels would prefer to spend $1 million on another TV Show, and to give us around $200k.
So people in Russia basically don’t understand how big Fedor is?
Exactly. Fedor Emelianenko is a huge star around the World, but in Moscow he can easily travel in the subway. A couple of people would recognize him, and that’s it.
Dana White reacted to Fedor’s loss with a simple “:D” sign in his Twitter account, and called Strikeforce’s agreement with Fedor “a mistake”. What do you think about that?
I can really feel that the rating makers on the US websites really wanted Fedor Emelianenko to suffer from his first “real” defeat. They now have Fedor on the Third Place, and the first is Brock Lesnar. Question: Who’s Brock Lesnar? He has only five professional fights, and one defeat. He is a marketable fighter because of his WWE past. They sell-out 60,000 stadiums for that crap, which no one would even consider watching in Russia. That’s why Brock Lesnar is popular. As for Fedor, he is not a marketable fighter – he’s just the best. He destroyed everyone during 10 years. He has 31 victories.
Will you ever be able to reach an agreement with the UFC?
I think yes. But not on the same terms they offered us before. We will not let ourselves to get owned. Fedor became so popular not inside the Octagon. So, long story short: 1. We would like to receive guaranteed payments. I know that if we agree for percents, they will cheat us. 2. Maybe not a co-promotion (like we offered before), but at least co-branding. 3. They also will have to permit Fedor participating in Sambo competitions, and during our last negotiations UFC were ready for that term. Now we have a co-promotion with Strikeforce. We go 50-50 with them on our co-promoted events, but there’s still some problematic issues. We want our fighters to fight on these events, but they tell us “the crowd wants to see Americans.”
I think you understand that everyone needs M-1 because of Fedor Emelianenko?
Of course, I completely understand that if there was no Fedor, Strikeforce would not need us. We just want the world to see our other guys. They could beat a lot of Strikeforce guys.