So, it turns out that Marc Ecko’s only role in last night’s press conference at the Complex Media offices was donating the space. He hasn’t invested in a piece of M-1, and he won’t be branding anything else with an asterisk, as far as I know. You can all exhale.
Here’s what actually went down: Sibling Entertainment Group CEO Mitchell Maxwell, veteran MMA fight manager Monte Cox, Fedor Emelianenko and his manager Vadim Finkelchtein gathered to announce the formation of Sibling Sports LLC for the purpose of creating M-1 Global, a new worldwide MMA organization. Cox will act as the CEO, and Fedor will be its first marquee fighter, signed to a two-year/six-fight contract. I was there with my trusty Canon Digital Elph — easily the smallest camera in the room, and the only one without a telephoto lens. Regardless…
This guy walked out about 15 minutes after the press conference was originally slated to begin. For a brief moment, I thought that Fedor was going to announce that he’s grown out his hair and will be dropping down to the lightweight division.
Here’s Vadim and Fedor, seated with their interpreters. Matt Kaplan at FiveOuncesofPain.com described these women as “stunningly beautiful,” but I don’t know…to me, they seemed more like the “good from afar, but far from good” type. Still, having female interpreters is apparently a huge status symbol in Russia.
Along with Maxwell and Cox (not pictured), the panel fielded questions about M-1 Global for about a half-hour. Some highlights…
Fedor on why he chose to sign with M-1 rather than the UFC: “M-1 is not going to be closed-ended, it’s going to be global, and I’ll get to meet with the strongest fighters.”
Cox: “I think that’s the way MMA has to head…it can’t just be groups of fighters fighting each other.”
Maxwell on what M-1 Global has offer besides Fedor: “We’ll be announcing other contracted fighters soon…some other fighters have just been freed up, I don’t know, it’s just a rumor. [ed. note: !] The events will be more fan-friendly. There will be more theatricality, more pomp-and-circumstance [ed. note: oh no...], which will make it more fun. There will be more respect for the fighters’ health, well-being, and future, and I think that’s a good place to start. Fighters will want to sign with us because of how they’ll be treated.”
Cox on the first M-1 event: “We’re looking for a television partner, and that’ll dictate where we open and when.”
Cox on Fedor: “Our goal is to make him a household name.”
Maxwell’s answer to “Are there any restrictions on Fedor’s contract that would prevent him from participating in Sambo competitions or movies?”: “The short answer is no.”
Of course Randy Couture was a main topic of the evening, with Fedor stating that he’d love to fight Couture, and Finkelchtein revealing that they’d pay the winner of an Emelienko/Couture fight $1 million over a guaranteed $1 million fight purse.
Here’s a video I took of Fedor speaking about Couture. Sure, it’s blurry and not very interesting, but it’s further proof that I was actually there, which I think is the most important point to take away from all of this.
After the press conference ended, I got right up in Fedor’s face and took this picture. Feel the power! Check out the dude behind him with the Dwayne Wayne glasses and half-assed comb-over!
At that point, Fedor and Vadim moved to the back of the room where they did one-on-one interviews with journalists. I considered sticking it out, but a long line of far-more-ambitious MMA writers had already queued up ahead of me, and if I didn’t leave soon I was going to miss Heroes. Plus, I was distracted by this:
I know it’s a really dark shot, but what you’re looking at is an open bar.
Final note: If you’re wondering about the headline quote, it was Fedor’s answer to the question “Have you ever been afraid of anyone, or anything?” I thought it was kind of poetic…