(If you ever wondered exactly how far you are from Fedor, this app has your answer.)
I don’t know how we missed out on this announcement last week, but apparently a company has just released a new Fedor Emelianenko iPhone application to allow fans to keep up with what the Russian heavyweight is up to, you know, just in case you haven’t quite figured out how to use Google.
When Dan Henderson tweeted a link to the above video interview with his boys at Clinch Gear Radio earlier today and promised it contained the “real deal” about his potential fight with Fedor Emelianenko, we didn’t exactly expect a bombshell. Didn’t get one, either, as Hendo and Co. spend most of the 10:45 talking about the Zuffa, LLC acquisition of Strikeforce and his light heavyweight title victory over Rafael Feijao. When the topic does finally turn to the rumored superfight with Emelianenko, Henderson says he’d be all for it, with one sort of surprising caveat: He says he wouldn’t take the fight if it is offered to him at 220-pounds.
Nope, as if to confirm his status as an all-around badass, Hendo sounds like he wants no part of such made-up nonsense, he’ll take Fedor at heavyweight or not at all. Watch the vid if you don’t believe us. “It would be an honor to fight him and if I did fight him, there would be no catchweight,” Henderson says. “I don’t do those at all. If I’m going to fight him at his weight, I’m going to fight him at his weight … I wouldn’t take the fight if it was at a catchweight.”
During a recent interview with the Russian sports news website MixFight.ru, M-1 Global president and the manager of Fedor Emelianenko, Vadim Finkelstein spoke a bit more about his thoughts on the recent acquisition of Strikeforce by Forza LLC, an offshoot of the UFC’s parent company Zuffa LLC. According to the man often referred to by Dana White as one of the “crazy Russian,” he is one of a growing number of people who aren’t buying the UFC president’s claims that in spite of the purchase, things will be business as usual for both promotions.
“The news of the acquisition of Strikeforce by Zuffa caught me so off guard that I initially did not believe it when I got the call from our partners telling us about it, but the next day the deal was reported on both of their official websites. What are my impressions? First of all, I do not believe that Strikeforce will somehow maintains its independence from the UFC and the organizations will continue to work as they did before. I do not believe that they will fight for the fighters’ best interests. I think that the fate of Strikeforce is quite predictable and will be a repeat the fate of other organizations that the UFC purchased.”
In spite of the fact that both former PRIDE champions are from completely different weight classes, it looks like a proposed bout between Strikeforce light heavyweight champion Dan Henderson and former pound-for-pound king Fedor Emelianenko has been agreed to in principle by both fighters.
According to a report by MMAFighting that cites Henderson’s manager Aaron Crecy as well as “a source with knowledge of the situation” and an unnamed rep from M-1 Global, Hendo and “The Last Emperor” have both said they would accept the fight if offered.
(Sign on the dotted line, or continue to get steamrolled by guys who look like ‘Spitting Image’ puppets. Your choice, pal.)
As first reported by MMAWeekly, Strikeforce is looking to make its pay-per-view debut sometime in July; date and venue are TBA at this point, though July 2nd is already booked for UFC 132: Cruz vs. Faber. In an attempt to give the Strikeforce PPV some superfight muscle, the promotion has reached out to Fedor Emelianenko’s camp to offer the Last Emperor a fight against reigning light-heavyweight champ Dan Henderson. The fight wouldn’t necessarily be for Hendo’s belt — it could take place at a catchweight or at heavyweight, depending on how negotiations shake out.
Emelianenko vs. Henderson makes even more sense in light of Saturday’s controversial draw between Gegard Mousasi and Keith Jardine. Mousasi was originally supposed to face Mike Kyle, in a bout that was thought to be a 205-pound title eliminator. Instead, Mousasi faced late-replacement Jardine and was unable to secure a victory, which makes the LHW contender picture a little more complicated. Strikeforce’s July card is also rumored to feature the return of former light-heavyweight champion Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal taking on 4-0 submission whiz Roger Gracie.
“At this time it is all rumor with no truth. It’s not anything M-1 has considered at all,” M-1′s head of PR Eric Nicholls told MiddleEasy last month. “Should it be decided that Fedor would consider dropping to 205, M-1 would make an official announcement.”
Well, it looks like Nicholls was just pretending that things were business as usual at M-1 as Fedor has now admitted that he is considering dropping down a weight class.
At his worst, Joe Rogan can come off as an arrogant blowhard with skin like an aging professional wrestler and a voice like a blender left too long on its ‘puree’ setting. At his best, he’s still one of the most articulate and insightful analysts MMA has been able to dredge up after almost 20 years of searching in America. If you really think about it, that’s pretty astounding. In the above video from MMA Weekly, Rogan appears to be in top form during a Q&A session with fans in Seattle just prior to the UFC’s recent “Fight Night” show, especially when the inevitable Fedor questions get tossed up on stage. On the topic of the former consensus No. 1 heavyweight, Rogan says what we’ve all been thinking for the last couple of years, but manages to put it all in the kind of direct (yet somehow elegant) language few other MMA broadcaster have been able to muster.
“I think Fedor is an amazing talent and an incredible athlete,” Rogan says. “I really admire his mind and his mindset when he goes in to compete. It’s really fun to watch that he’s so nonchalant with his big belly and goes in there and fucks people up. But the reality is that’s not going to work at the upper echelon of the sport anymore.”
(Apparently the tipping point in negotiations was Fedor’s refusal to try Pinkberry)
Well it looks like Dana White is sending a message to fighters whose camps think they’re bigger than the UFC.
According to a report by LifeSports.ru, which cites “a source close to the fighter,” Zuffa has passed on a proposed deal with M-1 to sign the Russian management group’s biggest client, Fedor Emelianenko to a new UFC contract.
M-1′s failed dealings with the UFC over the past few years have been well documented, which no doubt left a bad taste in White’s mouth and likely contributed to the UFC president’s decision to pass on locking in the former number one ranked pound-for-pound fighter.
(“Strikeforce is the best….Sorry, I just can’t say it with a straight face.”)
Now that UFC’s parent company, Zuffa LLC has bought Strikeforce nuggets like *the buying price for Strikeforce was $40-million* and *Pro Elite was one of the frontrunners for taking over the San Jose-based organization before DW and the Fertittas swooped in and bought Scott Coker’s baby*.
One of the more interesting behind the scenes tidbits today comes from an interview Tatame did with Fabricio Werdum regarding Zuffa’s latest belt notch. Werdum reveals that following his June 26, 2010 upset win over Fedor Emelianenko, he received a call from UFC matchmaker Joe Silva to see if and when he was available to negotiate. Vai Cavalo was inexplicably dropped by Silva following a KO loss at UFC 90 in October 2008 to up-and-comer Junior dos Santos. In his two bouts prior, the Sylvio Behring BJJ black belt defeated Gabriel Gonzaga and Brandon Vera by TKO
(“…on the bright side, me and Vadim were offered high-paying jobs as ‘consultants.’ So don’t worry about us, guys, we’ll be fine.”)
Saturday’s announcement that Zuffa purchased Strikeforce represented such a monumental shift in the MMA landscape that it was hard to process all at once. There are so many ways that this thing could play out, it’s almost useless to speculate about what might happen. Then again, what else are we going to do? Here are the possible effects that the Strikeforce buyout will (maybe) produce in the coming months, years, and decades…
Strikeforce will go the way of the WEC
When Zuffa bought the WEC in December 2006, they also vowed to keep “business as usual.” And for four years, they did; the WEC existed as a separate entity, and their consistently entertaining cards and smaller fighters were beloved by MMA fans. Eventually, Zuffa decided that the WEC had gone as far as it could as a promotion, and absorbed their featherweight and bantamweight divisions. A similar arc is highly likely for Strikeforce. Zuffa will keep the promotion running for a while because fans appreciate its fighters and entertainment-based matchmaking, but when Strikeforce’s contracts with its fighters and Showtime run out, the UFC will cherry-pick the best talent for its own roster and disband the operation.
The UFC will become the only brand in MMA
50 years from now, MMA fans will think of Strikeforce and PRIDE the same way we think of the ABA for basketball or the AFL for football — temporary competitors to the major leagues that had to be swallowed up for the sport to enter its unified, modern period. Some fans and fighters seem to be nervous about what a “monopoly” might mean for MMA. And maybe for good reason. If you’re a fighter like Josh Barnett or Paul Daley who’s on a permanent UFC blacklist, your career options just took a hit, especially with the Japanese MMA scene taking its dying breaths. Plus, the UFC’s revenue model is pay-per-view driven, which makes the comparison to basketball and football an imperfect one, especially in terms of how fans consume the sport. But in the long run, a single major-league promotion might be the best arrangement — the UFC as the NFL/NBA of MMA, with smaller regional promotions standing in for the collegiate system that those other leagues rely on. (Hell, maybe there will even be a full-fledged annual UFC draft at some point.) By comparison, boxing’s decline can be blamed in large part on the glut of competing promoters and sanctioning bodies. There’s reason to be optimistic here.
Sometimes an MMA fight is so close — or controversial — that matching the fighters up again a few months later is the only logical option. In honor of the upcoming immediate rematches between Leonard Garcia and Nam Phan (at UFC Fight Night 24 on March 26th), and Edgar vs. Maynard 3 at UFC 130, we decided to round up our favorite “do-over” fights of all time…
6. STEPHAN BONNAR vs. KRZYSZTOF SOSZYNSKI UFC 116, 7/3/10 Why it was necessary: A clash of heads during their first fight at UFC 110 opened up a nasty gash on Bonnar’s forehead; the referee didn’t see the illegal impact, and awarded a TKO victory to Soszynski due to cuts. Furious at taking his third-straight loss in such an unjust manner, Bonnar filed a formal appeal with the Combat Sports Authority of New South Wales. Unfortunately, it fell on deaf ears, but the UFC hooked Bonnar up (as they often do) by giving him an immediate rematch with K-Sos on the blockbuster “Lesnar vs. Carwin” card. What happened: Bonnar/Soszynski 2 turned out to be a meat-and-potatoes brawl reminiscent of Bonnar’s first war with Forrest Griffin. The American Psycho and the Polish Experiment both appeared to gas out by the middle of the second round, but Bonnar was able to keep throwing and landing until he overwhelmed K-Sos with strikes at the 3:08 mark. The fight netted both men $75,000 Fight of the Night bonuses, and produced one of the greatest victory poses in UFC history.
(No ice cream and vodka makes Fedor an angry stone-faced killer. Poor Hendo.)
For years MMA fans and analysts have hypothesized about what would happen if Fedor Emelianenko moved down a weight class to light heavyweight. Most salivated at the proposition of how much more dominant the once thought invincible Russian would be if he laid off the ice cream and vodka and moved down to fight at his more natural weight. Although the six-foot-tall, 230-pound fighter did quite well against much bigger opponents, he really wasn’t doing himself any favors by fighting giants with considerable height and weight advantages.
From Fedor Emelianenko to Dwayne Lewis, gruesome eye injuries are so hot right now in MMA. So we thought we’d make them the subject of our latest photo tribute. Because it’s all fun and games until…you know. Lots more after the jump.
(“OK Shane, now make vacant, dead-eyed love to the camera … beautiful …” Pic: DwightMcCann.com)
Remember the clamor of self-righteous public outcry that sprang up a couple weeks ago – mostly from the vigilant moral watchdogs who write for this website – when it seemed like Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker was already angling to get Fedor Emelianenko back in his company’s heavyweight tournament mere moments after his loss to Antonito “Bigfoot” Silva via aura-shattering doctor stoppage? What about all those so-called alternate bouts, we shrieked, voices cracking. What about 10-1 Chad Griggs and poor, overlooked Valentijn Overeem? What about Shane del Rosario, who we thought clearly put himself in the pole position with his slick submission on Lavar Johnson during the closing minute of the first round? We were fucking outraged. Oh, the hypocrisy!
As Japanese MMA seems to slowly dwindle away from the glory days of the sport, hardcore fans like myself shed a tear for our great loss. It wasn’t just knowing those obscure 135-pounders whose names had syllables our gaijin tongues could barely pronounce, or the fact that it was the land where stomping and soccer-kicking a human being in the face was perfected into a sweet science. More than that, it was the stars that were produced that we came to know and love, whether they were fighting someone on their level or tearing open a tomato can — and that is where this list begins.
Blatant mismatches aside, JMMA gave us so many beautiful fights with men like Fedor Emelianenko, Mirko “Crocop” Filipovic (go tell your favorite TUF noob that his last name is not Crocop and relish in their confusion), Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Ikuhisa Minowa and Kazushi Sakuraba. For every epic bout that went into the history books for their unbelievable drama, we had other fights that we remember for less than pleasant reasons. Yes, the freak show fights! What would a JMMA event be without a match worthy of a 1930′s carnival? The big question here was how do I rank something that is mediocre to begin with? Well, I’m as clueless as you are, so let’s get started on this journey down “Freak Show Lane,” across the street from “What Were They Thinking? Boulevard”…
10. Daiju Takase vs. Emmanuel Yarbrough
Pride 3, 6/24/98
This was the first freak show fight in Pride history, and earns a place on this list for that merit alone. It pit 169 lb. Daiju Takase against 600 lb. Emmanuel Yarbrough, who most fans will recall was clobbered into submission by Keith Hackney and his broken hand at UFC 3 (Yarbrough has no luck in any event associated with the number three). The sumo plodded around the ring tossing his hamhock arms at Takase, while the smaller Japanese fighter fled and slowly wore down Yarbrough.
Takase makes the mistake of going for a lazy single leg on Yarbrough, which results in the large fighter flopping onto his belly and absorbing Takase into his flesh. As Stephen Quadros lamented, “This is horrible! This is like “Jaws!” Eventually, Takase slid out from the greasy underside of Manny, and in an ending eerily similiar to his UFC 3 fight, Takase went to town with clubbing hands to his exhausted opponent’s face, leading to a tapout in the middle of the second round.
(Before you criticize Torres for fighting smart against Banuelos, take a moment to refer back to that picture where you can see his freaking skull, would you please? PicProps: ESPN)
Remember back in 2004, when Nelly and Tim McGraw recorded that terrible duet and then made a video utilizing the magic of split-screen technology to show us that – while they might look and sound very different – they were actually leading surprisingly similar parallel lives? Man, if only we could do the same thing with Miguel Torres and Fedor Emelianenko right now. This situation practically screams for a buddy comedy: One is a wise-cracking former bantamweight champion from Chicago who tweets like a madman and lives life in the fast lane. The other is a stoic Russian former heavyweight champion who prefers the quiet surroundings of Stary Oskol over the city and likely considers the internet a form of witchcraft. Oh brother, these two will never get along, right? Wrong.
Torres and Emelianenko are actually more alike than you might think, as Torres himself points out to MMA Fighting.com this week. Both guys were once the undisputed kings of their respective weight classes, but in recent times both have been cast into adversity by a pair of high profile defeats. It just so happens that Torres is a little bit further along the path to redemption than Emelanenko is, so he has some friendly professional advice for his unlikely spirit brother. Oh, also it kind of sounds like he’s totally pissed about the recent (unwarranted) criticism of his (winning) performance in his UFC debut. It’s all after the jump.
By Anton Gurevich Reminder: As part of a new content partnership, we will occasionally be passing along interesting articles from our friends at LowKick.com/MMA. So give ‘em a look…
Fedor Emelianenko’s dramatic defeat against Antonio Silva last weekend at the IZOD Center in New Jersey sparked a very heated, and I must admit quite one-sided, debate in the Mixed Martial Arts community. Who’s to blame for Fedor Emelianenko’s two consecutive defeats? It looks like everyone has an automatic answer to this question — Fedor’s management, M-1 Global.
People seem to forget that outside of being Fedor’s management, M-1 Global is a fighting promotion which organizes events all around the world. And just like any promotion, they have to protect their interests, and to defend their main asset, which in this case is “The Last Emperor” Fedor Emelianenko…
But blaming M-1 for Fedor’s lackluster performances makes no sense at all. Just like bringing up the “psychic” comments made by Fedor’s coaches. Yes, you can question M-1′s negotiation tactics, but this has nothing to do with Fedor’s performance inside the cage.
When a story came out today by a Russian news site quoting Fedor Emelianenko’s coach Vladimir Voronov blaming “The Last Emperor’s” loss to Antonio Silva on illegal psychological control maneuvers employed by “Bigfoot’s” camp, most of us shrugged it off as bullshit, however there might be some truth to the story.
(That’s a lot of suitcases for a dude who clearly only owns one set of clothing. PicProps: LifeSports.ru)
Oh, boy. We really only see three options here: Either a report out on Wednesday from the Russian language website LifeSports.ru lost something during its conversion to English, the following interview is a complete hoax or the people responsible for training the greatest heavyweight MMA fighter of all time are way, way, way, way, way crazier than we even thought. According to a translation provided by the good people at Fighters Only, Fedor Emelianenko coach Vladimir Voronov told LifeSports this week he thinks Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva used psychic mind controlto claim victory last Saturday night in the opening round of the Strikeforce heavyweight grand prix. No, we are not fucking kidding you. Check it out:
“We believe that forbidden psychological technology was used …,” Voronov told the website. “It seems to us that not everything was right, and that certain technologies were used. Not ones that could be seen by the naked eye but psychological technologies that worked on both fighters at a distance … That is why during the fight Fedor was just not like himself. It seemed very strange behavior from Fedor. He stepped into the ring and did everything exactly the opposite of what we practiced before the fight. We were all shocked! Fedor had never previously done such a thing.”
You think that sounds insane? Brother, you haven’t even read the weirdest part yet …
In the aftermath of Fedor Emelianenko‘s upset loss to Antonio Silva last weekend — four months after Brock Lesnar was roughly stripped of his UFC title by Cain Velasquez — MMA’s global heavyweight picture is in a state of flux. So, we figured it was a good time to launch a new rankings feature on CagePotato. Every week, Ben, Mike and Chad will try to justify their top five rankings for each weight division, and we’re kicking things off with the big boys. Check out our thoughts below, and let us know how you see MMA’s current heavyweight top five…
Ben Goldstein 1. Cain Velasquez: I think we can all agree he’s the top dog right now. In one fight, Brock Lesnar’s reputation went from “toughest S.O.B. on the planet” to “man-baby who goes fetal at the first sign of pressure.” You can blame/thank Cain for that. Aside from getting wobbled a couple times by Cheick Kongo, he’s cruised through all nine of his career fights with no difficulty whatsoever.
2. Junior Dos Santos: A future champion who has put together one of the most impressive contendership runs in UFC history. I think he’ll be able to add Lesnar to his list of scalps in June. And then…?
3. Brock Lesnar: With such a massive psychological hole in his game and just a 5-2 overall record, it’s weird calling Brock the third greatest heavyweight in the world. I’m not sure I agree with myself here. But until Werdum and Overeem face off in April, neither of those guys deserves to be called top three either.
(In hindsight, perhaps we shouldn’t have thought this guy was invincible. Photo courtesy of Sherdog.)
By Cage Potato Contributor Seth “Too Cool for Graduate School” Falvo
My life fades. The vision dims. All that remains are memories. I remember a time of tournaments. Ruined lipstick. This wasted cage. But most of all, I remember The Last Emperor. The man we called “Fedor“. Yes, it’s a clichéd way to start off an article in this Post-Fedor Apocalyptic Wasteland where betting on a doughy Russian guy to do something athletic all of a sudden seems illogical, but it’s too appropriate to pass up. After all, this is clearly the beginning of the end for Strikeforce. When you spend so much time and effort hyping a guy who loses in the first round of your tournament, you might as well quit while you still have something resembling your dignity. Didn’t you learn anything when the UFC hyped up Brock Lesnar as MMA’s next big thing, only to watch him get submitted by Frank Mir in his first fight with the organization? The UFC went bankrupt and Dana White was too embarrassed to ever leave his house again.
Yes, everyone following an MMA pundit on Twitter knows how incredibly awesome Fedor has been. Yes, most of you who’ve followed Fedor’s career are probably done caring about the tournament now that Fedor vs. Overeem won’t happen any time soon. There’s only one problem: The fact that you’re even reading this means that you’re a member of a very small minority.
(“Retire? No, I said I was going to ‘relax.’ That crazy translator lady always misquotes me.”)
Returning to his Russian homeland following his disappointing defeat at the hands of Antonio Bigfoot Silva on Saturday night, Fedor Emelianenko told reporters at the airport that he will likely fight again and that the pseudo-reitrement announcement he made following the fight was a knee-jerk reaction to racking up the second legitimate loss of his MMA career.
“I rushed to declare my retirement out of frustration. I will fight more. Possibly, I will return to the [Strikeforce] Heavyweight Grand-Prix,” Fedor told LifeSports.ru. “I am confident that I am capable of having a few more fights. I didn’t make any analysis yet on why I lost. I need to recover. I can’t see very well yet.”
(After drowning his sorrows until closing at a New Jersey Dairy Queen, Emelianenko was overheard telling his priest, “Dah. I may fight again.”)
Scott Coker stopped AOL’s studio today to talk with MMA Fighting’s Ariel Helwani about the successful first show of the opening round of his promotion’s heavyweight grand prix that took place Saturday night at the IZOD Center in New Jersey. Talk quickly turned to former top pound-for-pound king Fedor Emelianenko and whether or not Coker felt that “The Last Emperor” will indeed walk away from the sport forever as he intimated following his loss to Antonio Silva this past weekend.
Just wanted to pass along a few interesting moments from Fedor vs. Silva‘s post-fight presser, which featured all of the night’s winning fighters, plus the other four heavyweight grand prix competitors who will be squaring off on April 9th (venue TBA). Josh Barnett was the first to be introduced, and he gave the media his usual mix of insightful analysis and comic-book-like hyperbole. “Getting an easy win doesn’t do anything for you,” he said. “I’d rather stare death in the face.”
Scott Coker confirmed that Fedor Emelianenko could theoretically return to the grand prix as an alternate, jumping ahead of Shane Del Rosario, who was supposed to have earned the first replacement spot with his impressive win over Lavar Johnson. Nope. The tournament committee will decide that. And Coker’s not even on the committee. It is only now, two days later, that it’s occurred to me to wonder, “Wait a minute, so who is on the committee?” Vadim Finkelchtein and Gus Johnson? God help us.
After the jump:Alistair Overeem is bummed that Fedor got knocked out of the tournament because of the “glow” he brings to the proceedings, but after being ducked by Fedor twice, he already gave up on the idea of fighting him. Plus, Alistair and his brother Valentijn say that they’d have no problem fighting each other in the context of a tournament. I’m sure Dana White would respect that, but Coker is less than thrilled by the idea.
Following the post-event press conference at “Fedor vs. Silva” on Saturday night, I was able to get a couple minutes with Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker, who ran down his thoughts on the insanity we’d all just witnessed — as well as some other big topics swirling around his promotion. To summarize:
- Coker still feels that Fedor Emelianenko‘s heart is still in competing, mainly because the first round of his fight against Antonio Silva wasn’t a total blowout. (By the way, a draw after two rounds? That second round was a clear 10-8 for Silva in my opinion, and the first round wasn’t a clear-cut win for Fedor either.)
- Whatever Andrei Arlovski does next is up to his camp, but Coker doesn’t sound too enthusiastic about putting him in the cage again.