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On Fedor, Russia, and Why Good Guys Can Be So Boring

(A joy so pure, so simple, it can only come from two ice cream cones.)

Noted author and smug smartass Matthew Polly traveled to Russia to witness firsthand Fedor Emelianenko’s loss at the Sambo World Championships in St. Petersburg in November.  He tells the tale in an article for that contains several interesting insights about Russia and none of the cloying, faux-intellectual bullshit that usually finds its way into any Slate article (“Was Kevin Costner’s ‘Waterworld’ an Ahead-of-Its-Time Eco-Parable?” asks one such article.  No, asshole.  No it wasn’t).   

While the whole thing is interesting, even if you don’t care about Russian history or why St. Petersburg is a bizarrely beautiful and yet poorly-designed city, the last page is where we get serious about the mystery of Fedor.  What we end up learning, though, both in the Slate article and the full post-Sambo loss interview on Fightlinker, is that Fedor is either too nice to be interesting or else an impenetrable enigma.  And maybe we just choose to believe the latter because it’s more fun.

But give Polly some credit, as he doesn’t shy away from the issues between Fedor and his brother Aleks and even finds a new way of approaching them:

I took my first stab at making him laugh with a question about his younger brother, Aleksander, who suffers from second-son syndrome. He has recently been telling gullible foreign journalists about hunting bears in the traditional Russian manner. (When the provoked bear rises on its hind legs, you stick a staff with a U-shaped prong into its neck to keep it upright, and then you stab it to death with a knife.) While certainly more sporting than aerial wolf hunting, the story struck me as the kind of rural legend locals like to feed city-slicker outsiders.
Have you ever hunted a bear? "No." But your brother has, yes? "I don’t know about my brother," he replied, and his head dropped in shame. "But I have never hunted a bear."
It was at this moment that I realized I had tapped into a family dynamic that Fedor found embarrassing.

First of all, U-shaped prong?  Fucking awesome.  Second, what does it tell us that Fedor seems like he would rather talk about anything other than his own brother?  I don’t know, but it’s a little weird and, being weird, is one of the more interesting aspects of Fedor’s personality.

That, and this very basic understanding of the differences between Japanese, American, and Russian fans:

Very big difference. Different cultures, different approaches. The Japanese are more humble, modest, scared, shy, and afraid. Americans are simple. I like American fans because they always ask first if it’s possible to take a photo, for example. Russians fans they don’t ask because I’m from here, it’s my home, so they don’t care. They don’t ask if it’s possible to take a photo; they just take them. But I feel how people love me at home.

That’s right, world.  We ask before taking pictures with famous athletes.  And people say our standing in the world is damaged.

Cagepotato Comments

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yuntian- November 13, 2011 at 5:25 pm
speculation that Coach Outlet France could soon senior credit strategist at Bank investors are increasingly concerned
Werner- March 14, 2009 at 3:33 pm
Polly is a Rhodes Scholar , you damn red headed monkey-mongrel !
Meohfumado- February 26, 2009 at 7:32 am
I see that pic, and prefer to think of the two dudes Fedor KTFO to steal their ice cream who are just off-frame.

Alex- February 25, 2009 at 9:52 pm
This thread is unravelling.

Too much on the weave angle?

I've never posted on here before but enjoy the site and the banter.

Cheers. February 25, 2009 at 9:05 pm
who is this guy, fedor? no one fuckin knows. only what he is capable of.
Smeewa- February 25, 2009 at 7:58 pm
can someone give COOL a t shirt so he shuts up

andwhile ur at it give me a flamboyant sweater so i look like a world champ

Your Dumb!!!- February 25, 2009 at 7:38 pm
Fedor is just that flavor that even Baskin Robbins can't figure out.
some lardass- February 25, 2009 at 7:18 pm
I think Fedor shuts up when people talk about Aleks now b/c they can't train together any more. They used to train together and be very competitive (Sambo at least). Fedor always used to hype what a good athlete Aleks is in interviews. I think they don't want Aleks to pass the Heps (or whatever he has got) to Fedor so now their relationship is all fucked up by not training together. Now Fedor only says Aleks stays in St. Petersburg in interviews. Fedor continues to train as he always has in S.O. and up in the mountains.
smashfacekillah- February 25, 2009 at 3:33 pm
thank you for all of your comments i havent laughed this hard in weeks
Joey Montoya- February 25, 2009 at 2:28 pm
dude.. gasoline is actually just a de-concentrated version of Fedor's sweat. Why do you think we have his initials on our gauges? F.E.
Alen- February 25, 2009 at 1:58 pm
Premiering Saturday at 8pm "Fedor, The Happiest Man On The Planet"
bob loblaw- February 25, 2009 at 1:58 pm
that is the funniest shit ive read all day
auzzy- February 25, 2009 at 1:46 pm
cool sucks chicken crap. I wish Fedor fought in UFC i bet we would know more about him.
dude guy- February 25, 2009 at 1:30 pm
am i the only one reminded of homer simpson, when looking at that pic
snoochie boochies- February 25, 2009 at 12:57 pm
fedor pwns and dont kill reason to needlessly take life
Demon Cobras- February 25, 2009 at 12:54 pm
Not even cancer will be able to beat Fedor.
WeTalkinBoutPractice- February 25, 2009 at 12:54 pm
"Fedor in an enigma wrapped in a riddle, wrapped in a pretty boss collection of sweaters"

- Greatest comment in the history of the internets
WeTalkinBoutPractice- February 25, 2009 at 12:53 pm
That, sir, is the greatest comment in the history of the internet.
Jay Smith- February 25, 2009 at 12:53 pm
I'll be glad when someone beats him up.........don't tell him I said that.
jimmy c's- February 25, 2009 at 12:52 pm
You're all a bunch of fags.

fedor is teh best though.

oh, and phirst
Demon Cobras- February 25, 2009 at 12:49 pm
Fedors left hand if the U-shaped prong and his right cross is the knife, he never had to hunt a bear before because all Russian bears naturally fear Fedor along with all other wildlife in Russia.
Mantooth- February 25, 2009 at 12:38 pm
I like Fedor's attitude. I dislike when fighters(i.e. Tito) rub a win in the opponents face and act like they have never gotten a win before. Fedor has class and a cold demeanor that intimidates opponents without much expression.
jiujitson- February 25, 2009 at 12:24 pm
Fedor can still remember the day he was born.
Fedor doesn't need a cell phone because he can communicate telepahtically.
Fedor once walked into a bar and the term Happy Hour was coined.
Fedor flipped a coin with Barrack Obama and won the United States of America Presidency, but out of compassion bequethed the position to Obama.
There is a rumor that Fedor once got abducted by aliens but was immediately returned with note saying, "We only disect imperfect beings"
BuckWild- February 25, 2009 at 12:21 pm
I have a prediction ..

Please take note..

This is serious ...

Fedor will lose ...

He will lose to someone you least suspect will beat him....

It will be almost fluke like...

A wild punch/kick thrown in retreat...

......No wait ....

That was how Kimbo got beat...

Never mind!

im confused- February 25, 2009 at 12:08 pm
whats all this talk about chuck norris and fedor hunting bear together? did that really happen?