(Propers: The Fight Nerd)
A two-for-one video sesh to get your Saturday started: At top, watch the aptly named Fight Nerd chat with M-1 Global Director of Ops Evgeni Kogan at the MMA World Expo 2010 this week. After the jump, find Chael Sonnen’s “exclusive interview” with HDNet’s Mike Straka following the California State Athletic Commission’s ruling to reduce by half his suspension for a funky UFC 117 drug test. First though, the Fedor stuff, because frankly we’re getting a little bit sick of talking about Sonnen’s gonads …
In this vid, Kogan – who you may remember as the dude who told Ariel Helwani that Fedor was MIA in New York City earlier this year when he no-showed his radio program — looks like he could seamlessly transition from a heated contract negotiation to playing bass for Weezer without even changing his striped belt. He also demonstrates that despite the fact M-1 Global’s biggest bargaining chip expended much of his political capital when he swan dived into the waiting legs of Fabricio Werdum in June, the Rent-a-Fedor company is still not afraid to make a bunch of totally ridiculous demands on both Strikeforce and Showtime. Follow the link to find out what they’re asking for this time. Seriously, it’s gonna blow your mind.
“We are now very close to finalizing a deal extension for Fedor with Showtime and Strikeforce,” Kogan says, totally unprompted by the Fight Nerd, who seems to just want to talk about M-1’s fight series. “Part of that deal (is) four M-1 Challenge events on Showtime in the U.S. So if that deal gets done, then we have four M-1 Challenge events in 2011 on Showtime in the U.S. where there will be title matches, obviously, throughout the whole year.”
Yeah, you heard/read that right: In the wake of Fedor’s loss M-1 Global apparently actually increased its demands on the Americans and – allegedly, according to Kogan – those poor, gullible bastards are about to relent. This can only mean one of two things: Either Showtime is so happy with the business it’s been able to do with Strikeforce that it’s champing at the bit to get more MMA programming OR it’s so desperate to have Fedor that it will give M-1 whatever it wants in exchange. Frankly, it seems like neither of those things could possibly be true.
Kogan says he expects Fedor back in action during the early part of 2011 and even briefly hints at the possibility of some kind of joint pay-per-view venture between the two fight companies. When the Fight Nerd asks the obligatory question about Fedor ever fighting in the UFC, the only thing Kogan will say is that they’re currently “happy with the relationship” M-1 has with Strikeforce. Yeah, it’s easy to see why.
“For us, MMA in Russia is quite connected to politics,” Kogan says at one point while talking about a totally unrelated matter … and if he says any more, he’d have to kill you.
But hey, speaking of politics …
After getting about as good a deal as he was ever going to get from the CSAC on Thursday, Sonnen brought his unnerving stare and confrontational spoken word stylings to (where else?) HDNet. At the beginning of this vid check out Kenny Rice getting his Walter Cronkite on, seated at the Inside MMA action news desk, hands folded, “Breaking News” graphic over his right shoulder. Nice, playa, very professional.
Rice says MMA interviewer Mike Straka “caught up” with Sonnen after the CSAC hearing, but it’s our understanding that Sonnen and Straka already had an exclusive set up before Chael even appeared in front of the commission, so “caught up” is probably not the right terminology here. Anyhoo, Straka knew this interview was so important that he put on his best “Headrush” T-shirt for it … and then he does his best to act as Sonnen’s straight man throughout.
Sonnen opens things by saying he “hadn’t really dealt with this issue” until sitting down in front of the CSAC this week because he was “dealing with the federal government” (check out the scorn in his voice when he says those words) on an unrelated issue. When asked about how he’ll move forward from this little bump in the road, Chael responds:
“I don’t plan to deal with it at all. I don’t really know anybody who thinks I was on steroids and if they do I wouldn’t offer an explanation or an apology. The facts were the facts and that’s it, that’s between me and the commission and we dealt with it … I was never accused or suspected of an illegal substance. That was an online rumor that was started and perpetuated and I never did anything to step in and stop it. But I was accused of taking testosterone without the proper disclosure and still to this moment I don’t know what the ‘proper disclosure’ they were looking for was. I walked straight up to the commissioner and told him ‘This is what I’m on.’”
“And he testified under oath today that, yes, you did say that,” the helpful journalist jumps in.
Sonnen goes on to talk about the various ways he disclosed his medical condition and its treatment to different athletic commissions only to – in his words – have the CSAC “pull the carpet out” from under him after UFC 117. Even after watching it, we’re still not 100 percent sure what to believe. For all we know, Sonnen might later claim that’s not really him up there with Straka.
Oh, and in other news, he’s started Tweeting again. Or, at least, somebody has.