(Goodnight, sweet prince.)
The last time Fedor Emelianenko was scheduled to appear on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani he went abruptly missing on the streets of New York, leaving Helwani to make a couple hours of awkward small talk with M-1 Global spokeshipster Evegni Kogan. On Monday the second time was the charm, as Fedor finally found his way to the studio to provide docile, down-to-earth answers to all Helwani’s questions. Yeah, it went exactly as expected, except for one piece of stunning Breaking News: Fedor says his widely celebrated Glorious Sweater of Absolute Victory is now retired. Oh also, he still wants Alistair Overeem drug tested if they are to fight in the Strikeforce heavyweight grand prix.
True to form, Emelianenko expressed childlike bewilderment at the attention the Glorious Sweater garnered on the American MMA scene – mostly in chat rooms and on this website — during its storied career. In fact, he said he doesn’t even know where the magnificent garment is anymore, though we assume it’s living quietly on a pension somewhere on the Gulf Coast of Florida.
“I cannot understand actually why this sweater became that famous and there is no famous sweater actually because that’s my wear, that’s my manner,” Fedor said through a translator. “I take the thing and I wear it until it becomes really very old. And I know this sweater became really very old.”
As we know from yesterday’s training video, Fedor is hard at work getting ready for his opening round GP matchup against Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva. From what we can tell most of his preparations involve beating up 14-year-old kids at a place called the “Sport Palace” in Stary Oskol, where there’s a giant mural of him painted on the wall. With that in mind, you can’t blame him for assuming victory over Silva and already looking ahead to a potential semifinal matchup with Overeem. This week, Emelianenko had nothing but nice things to say about the current Strikeforce champ except, you know, to note that he sure looks a lot bigger now than he did just a couple years ago.
“Alistair Overeem is a great fighter,” Fedor said. “He is very strong and is a very serious fighter. Lately he has won a K-1 tournament, as well. The only question I have (is) how he managed to gain 20 kilos of weight in such a short period of time. But frankly speaking I don’t care, if he passes (the) drug tests successfully.”
Just so you understand, he’s not sayin’. He’s just sayin’.
Emelianenko also seconded the emotion of manager Vadim Finkelstein, who recently called for strict drug testing of all tournament competitors.
“I completely agree with Vadim regarding the idea that all the fights have to be very honest, and all the sportsmen have to be clean and they have to work under equal conditions,” Emelianenko said. “It’s not a secret nowadays that a lot of sportsmen use drugs trying to increase their strength, their speed. I think the fight has to be honest.”
From where we’re sitting, if Overeem promises not to use the juice and Fedor promises not to use the Glorious Sweater of Absolute Victory, this thing could actually be a fair fight. One little technicality, though: Gotta see how the first round plays out first.