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Vadim Finkelchtein Interview Part II: “We’ve always wanted to collaborate with good partners, the problem is that Dana White is not letting that happen.”

In Part I of’s exclusive interview with M-1 Global President and manager for Fedor Emelianenko, Vadim Finkelchtein, discussed in detail some of the specific negotiation points that came up during contract negotiations between the UFC and Fedor.

In Part II, Finkelchtein addresses questions about whether Fedor’s current contract with Affliction and M-1 would prevent him from fighting for the UFC; how his dealings with Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta were from a behind-the-scenes perspective; whether he truly believes that White doesn’t consider Fedor to be the number one heavyweight in the world; and more.

Sam Caplan: Dana White has said he’s still willing to talk with Fedor about having him fight for the UFC. However, would Fedor’s current contract with Affliction even allow him to fight for the UFC?

Vadim Finkelchtein: Affliction is M-1 Global’s partner. We have an agreement with Affliction where we collaborate on these shows. Unfortunately, with the show that happened before, it may not have appeared that way and this is something we’ve resolved with our partners at Affliction. But the first show with Sylvia and this upcoming one is an Affliction/M-1 Global show and the agreement that we have in regard to Fedor is that Fedor is signed to M-1 Global. Fedor’s promoter is M-1 Global.

Affliction is our partner in having Fedor fight in the United States and the contract that in essence controls Fedor is the contract that Fedor signed with M-1 Global, which is essentially that same contract that the UFC offered in terms of money and all of the terms that should have been included in a promotional deal. The only thing missing is whatever Fedor would either not agree to or at least wanted to talk about, which were the restrictive terms that Fedor had concerns with.

Today, if M-1 were to have Fedor fight whoever is considered the heavyweight champion of the UFC at this point, whether it’s Lesnar, Mir, or whoever, the possibility of having Fedor fight any of them is certainly out there. We’ve always wanted to collaborate with good partners. The problem is that Dana White is not letting that happen. Whether it’s a desire to monopolize everything or simply a desire to not want to work with others, the reason why it’s not happening has nothing to do with M-1 or their relationship with Affliction. We have good partners and are putting on good shows but that doesn’t preclude having Fedor fight in the UFC.

Sam Caplan: But as it stands today, if Fedor were to fight in the UFC, he would have to be promoted as part of Affliction and M-1 Global?

Vadim Finkelchtein: Today, it’s hard to say who Fedor would fight because they are trying to tell everybody who they happen to have at the time is the best heavyweight in the world, whether it’s Frank Mir or Lesnar. But if Fedor were going to fight one of these guys today, it would have to be a co-promotion where M-1 Global and our partner Affliction is involved. It can be done just like it is all over the world like it’s done with boxers and any two promotional companies that have an opportunity to bring the public the best possible fight. At this point today, it cannot be a one-person show.

Sam Caplan: In Part I of the interview, you spoke of the rigid nature of one of the UFC’s former attorneys. Can you describe the demeanor of both Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta during your dealings with him?

Vadim Finkelchtein: When we met, in our conversations, everything has always been very cordial. Both Dana and Fertitta has come off as very pleasant, professional people. I think a lot of the problem is whatever Dana puts into these interviews. Maybe that’s his style? Maybe there’s a reason why he goes out there and calls us “crazy Russians” and things like that.

I’ll tell you one thing, we would have really been “crazy Russians” if we had signed that contract that they had offered. Fedor is an athlete who deserves a certain amount of respect and recognition. We don’t make the rankings. We don’t decide who is the number one fighter in the world, consensus wise. These are things that are out there in the world.

I think in my dealings with those guys, everything has always been very cordial and very friendly. But publicly, they’ve created — and I don’t know whether they have an inferiority complex — but I don’t know what it is. But they’re trying to create a monopoly and I believe that regardless that bubble is going to pop because very soon, the sport is going to become bigger than them.

Again, my dealings with them have always been great and I don’t have anything against them as people. But publicly there have been a lot of things said that are maybe said for ulterior motives that have no truth in them.

Sam Caplan: Do you think that White is sincere in his opinion of Fedor or that his comments are simply the words of a promoter trying to do what’s best for his business?

Vadim Finkelchtein: Of course it’s because Dana is trying to protect whatever is his. I do not believe that Dana really feels that Fedor is not the number one heavyweight in the world. If Fedor were to fight for the UFC, I am sure you will hear Dana saying other things about Fedor, such as that he is the number one heavyweight. But we’re talking about about a man who is trying as hard as he can to have a monopoly and maintain his monopoly.

However, don’t get me wrong, the UFC is indeed the number one MMA company in the world, bar none. They were the first to get there and they are continuing in many aspects. And in many weight classes, they have many great fighters. However, there is an evolution of sorts and there are other organizations out there and there are other fighters out there and it’s not correct for the UFC to just clamor onto their own fighters and say “Only our fighters are the number one fighters in the world,” because that is not true. And the public, especially the people that know the sport have seen that there are other organizations out there and other fighters out there and there are other champions.

What’s so wrong about wanting to prove that your fighters are the number one fighters in the world by having them meet other great fighters in other great organizations? Let the public decide who the number one fighters are in the world, not Dana. But Dana doesn’t like that. Dana doesn’t like when the public, or journalists, or anyone else writes that some other fighter that has nothing to do with the UFC is just as good, if not better, than some of the fighters in the UFC.

He killed Randy (Couture). He had an opportunity for giving the public and everyone a fight between Randy and Fedor and he simply killed that opportunity. And we didn’t want that. We don’t want for Fedor to by some mythical creature or this mythical person that people hear as being the greatest in the history of the sport with those same people not getting a chance to see him fight the best in the world so that he can show them that.

Fedor is not a myth. He’s a great person and a great sportsman. He’s a great athlete and all we’ve been trying to do is have Fedor fight the best fighters in the world, and that’s what we’re doing. That’s what he’s done in the past and that’s what he’s doing now. And if Dana really wanted to prove that he has the best heavyweights then he has the capability of doing that with Fedor.

Sam Caplan: Is it true that Dana White and Fedor have never met?

Vadim Finkelchtein: Yes, this is true. It’s true but to put in perspective, I am not only Fedor’s manager but his friend and partner in many different projects that we do. We don’t have any secrets from each other and Fedor knows every move I make. He doesn’t handle a lot of his own business affairs.

I flew to Vegas to meet with Dana. At the time, Fedor was unable to fly out to Vegas. But believe me, if Dana ever wanted to meet with Fedor or wanted to come to Russia, we’d welcome him with open arms. And he has every opportunity possible to sit down face-to-face and have a conversation with Fedor.

Sam Caplan: In an interview, you extended an invitation to Dana White to attend “Day of Reckoning” and meet Fedor. Has M-1 received an official response yet from the UFC?

Vadim Finkelchtein: No, of course not. There has been no response in regards to my invitation. Our arms are open and we’ve always welcomed not only the UFC but other organizations to work with us. Because if this sport is indeed so popular, and indeed has such great growth potential worldwide… well, today – and there will be others as well – but today we are the ones trying to advance the sport.

The UFC has leverage now. They have a great company that they’ve done a wonderful job of building up and building the sport, but mostly in the United States. Today, all over the world in places such as Japan, Korea, Europe, and Australia, the sport is becoming more and more popular. At some point, whether they like it or not, enough fans are going to say “Don’t feed us bulls— with these marketed fighters and hype jobs.” The fans are going to want to see the best fighters in the world fight the best. And whether they like it or not, they don’t have all of the best fighters. There’s actually companies out there more than willing to work with them on making that happen and even even popularizing them all over the world beyond what they have today. But now, Dana just wants to eat his cake and doesn’t want to share any pieces with anyone.

Sam Caplan: I wanted to know if you had a direct response to the things Dana White stated during his radio interview on Monday night?

Vadim Finkelchtein: I have answered the question many times, and at this point, my only response is take who you think is your best fighter and have Fedor fight him. And don’t make it where Fedor has to give up his career and owes him his life to do it. If you want to say that any one of your fighters in the UFC is the best, then prove it. Just stop yelling and prove it.

Why don’t you try and eliminate any doubt? Just give us who you think is your best fighter and let’s work together and let’s co-promote and make the fight happen.

Sam Caplan: During past interviews Dana has raised the point that M-1 and Fedor asked for things that the UFC has never granted to a fighter — not even its top superstars such as Chuck Liddell and Randy Couture. Can you respond to that point?

Vadim Finkelchtein: We did not make any unreasonable demands. There was nothing out of the ordinary that we demanded on that contract. In fact, we never asked for more money. We were satisfied with the financial offer that was made. The only thing that we weren’t satisfied with were human factors. Essentially, the initial proposed contract made Fedor a slave to the UFC and there were certain aspects that as a self-respecting man, and if you know Fedor, you know his pride and his principals are very important to him. There were just certain things that he didn’t understand. It wasn’t so much that he disagreed with them, he just didn’t understand why those things needed to be given up.

Since then, Dana White was more or less agreeable with the concerns Fedor had. The one sticking point — and as minor of an issue as it was — the one sticking point he wasn’t able to overcome was this thing about Sambo. And we tried to explain to him and people just have to understand, this is an amateur sport and it’s a hobby for Fedor. But it is the national sport (of Russia) and Fedor made a promise to the President of Russia.

He promised the President of Russia that he would compete in Sambo because for young people all over Russia, this is something that they watch and compete in. You’re essentially trying to kill a national sport by having the face of the sport not participate in it. So as minor as it sounded it was a major obstacle and hurdle and for some reason that was just the one thing Dana couldn’t get over when it came down to it.

Sam Caplan: But considering Fedor lost the World Combat Sambo Championships for the first time in seven years, is Fedor still going to continue competing in Sambo?

Vadim Finkelchtein: If he’s given the opportunity and if it doesn’t interfere with his professional career, it is Fedor’s intention to continue in Sambo.

We have a new team now with the Red Devil Team now being called “The Imperial Team.” And the entire team is comprised of current and former Sambo champions. All of these guys owe their future careers and their future economic prosperity that they hopefully will attain in the sport of MMA to the sport of Sambo.

And Fedor has to be an example for everyone else. He’s a role model for a lot of the younger guys and despite the fact that he’s a celebrity and makes a lot of money not only doing MMA but now doing movies, endorsements, and other things… for Fedor, this is who he is. He is giving back to what got him to where he is today. Sambo is like his parents. You will still go back to them and thank them for raising you a certain way.

It’s the same reason why (Antonio Rodrigo) Nogueira will go back and and participate in a jiu-jitsu tournament because that’s where he came from. You have to respect that in somebody (that) in spite of the success they’ve attained, that there are still things more important to them than just money and fame.

Sambo brings Fedor such great pride and pleasure when he’s just simply asked “Will you please participate in this?” He does it and he does it for free. Sambo does not pay a penny. And he also does it to show everyone that no matter what he’s achieved that he’s still capable of competing on the world level of this sport.

We don’t see a lot of Americans or other athletes who came from wrestling or judo and can thank those disciplines for the success that they are achieving now and go back to those roots and participate in these tournaments. They have probably already forgotten where they came from and what it was that got them to where they are. And Fedor is never going to do that. That’s just not the kind of person that he is and not the kind of person he’ll ever be.

  • 45huddle says:

    CAUGHT IN A LIE… From the First Interview:

    First, there was a report that in order for the UFC to sign Fedor, they would also have to agree to co-promote events in Russia with M-1?

    Vadim Finkelchtein: No, that’s false.

    Fom the Second Interview:

    But if Fedor were going to fight one of these guys today, it would have to be a co-promotion where M-1 Global and our partner Affliction is involved.


    Why anybody would believe this sleezy promoter is beyond me. He can’t even keep his story straight during the SAME interview.

  • Sam Caplan says:

    45Huddle, you need to read more closely.

    Finkelchtein clearly states that talks first began to take place before there was ever M-1 Global in its current form. After the UFC bought PRIDE, negotiations began to take place and both sides couldn’t get a deal done. M-1 Global was then formed with Fedor signed to a promotional contract and M-1 went from being a Russian-based promotion to one that began promoting events all over the world via the M-1 Challenge.

    Before Fedor signed a promotional agreement with M-1 Global, Finkelchtein makes it clear that Fedor could have been signed with no demands of co-promotion. But now that his North American rights are held by Affliction courtesy of the promotional agreement M-1 Global has with Fedor, the UFC would have to do a co-promotion in order to work with Fedor.

  • mike wolfe says:

    Excellent point, 45Huddle. This second installment is also significant because Finkelchtein admitted what many have suspected: He is in charge of many aspects of Fedor’s business that Fedor himself doesn’t handle. Finkelchtein claims all decisions are made with Fedor’s consent, but how the hell could Fedor make an informed decision if he’s not attending the meetings? He necessarily has to rely on Finkelchtein, who clearly has his own agenda.

    I’ll give the guy his due, however. He is very adept at playing the PR spin game, putting the pressure on UFC to justify its business decisions while pretending that he’s not grabbing for everything he can. He may be duplicitous, but he’s definitely smooth.

  • mike wolfe says:


    I’d insist on seeing some corroborating evidence before I bought off on Finkelchtein’s version of history. Do you seriously believe that he had no desire to co-promote until after the negotiations with UFC broke down? This guy is far too shrewd for that. He knows that Fedor gives him a lot of valuable leverage.

    Editor’s Note: Mike, looks like you need to re-read some things as well. I never said I did or didn’t buy into Finkelchtein’s version of events. I merely corrected 45Huddle who claimed that Finkelchtein contradicted himself when he clearly did not. Folks, if you’re going to respond to articles and comments, you need to make sure you’ve got your facts straight and that you’re on point. Opinions of all kinds of welcomed. False statements are not.

  • blake says:

    i love fedor and think he is definitely top 3 heavyweight in the world (probably the best actually) and i agree with what his manager is saying. i thought he had some very good points and was respectful until the last paragraph.

    he said:
    “We don’t see a lot of Americans or other athletes who came from wrestling or judo and can thank those disciplines for the success that they are achieving now and go back to those roots and participate in these tournaments. They have probably already forgotten where they came from and what it was that got them to where they are. And Fedor is never going to do that. That’s just not the kind of person that he is and not the kind of person he’ll ever be.”

    dana white has been pretty ignorant in his public comments about fedor, but fedor’s manager was pretty disrespectful in his comments concerning americans. how can he speak for ALL americans?

  • Michaelthebox says:

    “The UFC has leverage now. They have a great company that they’ve done a wonderful job of building up and building the sport, but mostly in the United States. Today, all over the world in places such as Japan, Korea, Europe, and Australia, the sport is becoming more and more popular. At some point, whether they like it or not, enough fans are going to say “Don’t feed us bulls— with these marketed fighters and hype jobs.” The fans are going to want to see the best fighters in the world fight the best.”

    This is a recurring argument for co-promotion. But it isn’t true. There really aren’t any “marketed fighters” and “hype jobs” in the UFC beyond the low confines of TUF. The UFC is systematically cornering the market on top fighters and letting the best fight the best. In another couple years, the UFC will have 80% or more of the top fighters in the world. Co-promotion would be nonsensical in that situation.

  • 45huddle says:

    By merely printing his article, you in a way are giving it some validity. The mere act of posting it on your website dictates that. If it had no validity in your eyes, you wouldn’t have published the interview.

    And I didn’t misread what was written. You are buying into the fact that the terms have all of a sudden changed. But the “terms” that Vadim says will only work AS OF TODAY…. Are basically the EXACT terms Dana White has been saying they have been demanding from the beginning. how would Dana White be able to PREDICT the future? Unless those were the FIRST AND REAL TERMS. So Vadim has really turned himself into a liar in this case.

    Let me also state that sometimes Dana White’s credibility is questioned. But in many ways he is a mouthpiece. That real brains is Frank Fertitta. And his credibilitity is fantastic. During the Randy Couture Fiasco, Couture came out with many claims. Fertitta came back with his version of the story…. And then later gave proof with receipts, basically showing that Couture lied to the media.

    And the terms of these negoations would obviously have Fertitta’s input. So Vadim’s credibility vs. Fertitta’s? I would take the guy from Vegas any day of the week.

  • ACK! says:

    Fantastic interview. And interesting perspective on the negotiations between Fedor and the UFC. I don’t really feel that you can fault him or M1 because he got the contract he wanted and his recent competition has been adequate. We’ll have to wait and see what happens after the Arlovski fight, though…

    Thanks Sam.

  • HexRei says:

    And I didn’t misread what was written. You are buying into the fact that the terms have all of a sudden changed. But the “terms” that Vadim says will only work AS OF TODAY…. Are basically the EXACT terms Dana White has been saying they have been demanding from the beginning. how would Dana White be able to PREDICT the future? Unless those were the FIRST AND REAL TERMS. So Vadim has really turned himself into a liar in this case.

    No. The sambo condition is not one Dana has ever been willing to back down on.

    And then later gave proof with receipts, basically showing that Couture lied to the media.

    That didn’t exactly happen either. Sorry if you missed the end of that fiasco, but the deal with the bonus was a misunderstanding. Basically, Dana promised him a signing bonus in the contract, and then gave it to Randy in the locker room after his fight- which Randy thought meant it was a locker room bonus and that he was still owed his signing bonus.

    It’s like when someone gives you a present on christmas and then you say “well what about my birthday present” and then they say “oh well that was both your christmas and birthday present”. just a misunderstanding.

  • 45huddle says:

    I was speaking about the sambo condition. I was speaking strictly about the UFC co-promoting with Fedor’s management.

    As for the Couture Fiasco…. Couture said he never got a signing bonus. Fertitta showed up at the press conference with a CASHED CHECKED that written on it said: “Signing Bonus”. Not sure how Couture could have been confused on that one. That wasn’t a misunderstanding. That was Couture either being completely clueless or flat out lying.

  • 45huddle says:

    WASN’T speaking about sambo competition. sorry for the typo.

  • ACK! says:

    45huddle, you entire point is moot. Every interview is subject to the crediblity of the source. It’s not up to Sam to determine which answers are accurate or otherwise. He’s simply reporting what is being told to him, personally, from a primary source…

    And, for what it’s worth, I agree with Sam that you are misinterpreting what Finkelchtein is quoted as saying. Before Fedor signed a contract with M1 Global, the UFC apparently had the oppurtunity to be his one and sole promoter. He and his managment didn’t agree to the terms and instead formed M1 Global to essentially manufacture a competing promotion that would be willing and able to make Fedor a competitive offer that fit his terms when no other such company existed at the time. As such, now if the UFC wants to promote Fedor’s fights they will have to do so with M1 Global (as well as Affliction) in a co-promotion due to a presumably binding contract that Fedor signed with M1 Global and Affliction. Nothing sinister here.

  • anomie42 says:

    Mike Wolfe, you sir, are an idiot!

  • Mike Wolfe says:

    Yeah? You’re ugly, and your mother dresses you in funny clothes.

  • glock says:

    Sam, thanks for the getting the interview, and sharing.

    We all now get to have some have fun trying to figure out whether it was the smoke or the mirrors they wanted us to look at.
    Seems to me that at the time, UFC was looking strong, but still had that 40 mil of red ink on their minds, and probably, rightly, felt they had to play hardball. They didn’t want to help cultivate a potentially strong competitive organization.You can bet your ass that Finkelchtein had BIG plans for M1 and the free publicity from UFC would have been a big help, especially had Fedor kicked ass. Dana would NOT want them leaving with the Golden Goose, just giving the UFC some eggs.
    The flip side of the UFC being cautious is that in the BIG picture, we MMA fans (junkies), would lose the chance to see our Ali/Marciano fight and will forever wonder what if ??? (Not to mention the potential for a 3 fight legend and all of us unwitting promoters running around in delirium telling anyone and everyone that would listen, everyday, how great it was gonna be )
    Things look much different now and there’s probably better visibility and more widespread mainstream acceptance, so it makes more sense to share their toys and get along as the pie seems to be expanding for those with the appetite for risk.
    (As evidenced IMHO, by Dana trying to rope in the Japanese fans/market by giving Okami a title shot) Also, the talent pool is growing so fast that even Fedors’ Reign (once and if it starts) could be short, at this point.
    The UFC is the acknowledged 800lb. gorilla so let’s all bow and get on with growing the sport.

  • 45 Huddle says:

    Roping in Japanese fans with Okami? He is completely an unknown to casual fans over there. Heck, Pride had him and let him go after a win because he was so boring (and I’m an Okami fan).

  • Jesse says:

    LOL @ the end when he says American fighters forget where they come from. It’s a smart business move to not let Fedor fight in Sambo….could you imagine paying him a massive contract then he blows out his knee?

  • Jeremy says:

    Why then was the Bodog event a co-promotion with M-1?

    Reality is somewhere between what Vadim and Dana are saying.

    Both have histories of being hard to work with.

    Vadim has had problems with Bodog, Pride, Monte Cox and co as well as Dana.

    Dana has had problems with…too many to list.

    I know that some of this stuff is BS, but no longer really care.

    Both Dana and Vadim need to SHUT THE HELL UP. You are not going to work together, so stop blathering on about each other.

    MMA Media: Stop asking them about each other. I know it gives you juicy sound bites, but enough of the He said, He said crap.

  • glock says:

    Well, then, I guess I rest my case, Your Honor……..

    I didn’t know he was unknown in Japan, he’s only been fighting here (UFC) 2 years- Wajyutsu Keisyukai is a source of some significant fighters, Pancrase guys if I remember, but I’ve pretty much only followed K1 Pride and UFC.
    I didn’t know/see him in Pride.

    That being said, like trying to expand in the UK I have no doubt UFC is trying to leverage some benefit out of scooping up Pride, and a Japanese fighter in a “world” title fight is decent bait, not that I even know if they can get our PPV there…

    But as they say “if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck.”……
    You can bet Dana and the Ferttitas know how to get the Foie gras out of it.

  • PHiL says:

    we won’t know who the best hw is until fedor fights Eddie Sanchez or Antoni Hardonk…im just saying…or zulu again or cabbage….

  • Pedro says:

    this guy is dilusional.. the UFC is not going anywhere and the sport is only as big as the UFC allows it to get…They own MMA…

    Look at this way

    Satoshi Ishii turned down 6 mill from FEG to go to the UFC…

    Cro Cop just stated he desires his ast mma fight to be in the UFC before retirement.

    Alistair Overeem is now wanting to go to the UFC

    the UFc is the pinnacle of the sport and those are 3 big international names who dont want to stay in Japan, but desire bigger things…

    That momentum is not going anywhere… the UFC doesnt have to go after fighters, there is a long list of fighters wanting in the UFC..

    Fedor is not a man, because any man would handle his own business and not let some jack hole talk for them…

    to me, Fedor isnt the best because he isnt in the UFC and he is on a very very short list of fighters who dont desire to be signed to Zuffa… he wouldnt last in the cage guys…he know it..we wont ever see it… and he will fade away as the UFC expands and takes over the world…



  • Austin says:

    Overeem needs to be in the UFC

  • glock says:

    45 huddle,
    i know it’s off topic
    UFC does broadcast in japan on PPV I found this on their site … so now I know.

    “UFC®) brand today announced
    that UFC will return to television in Japan with a new two-year deal with WOWOW.

    “The Japanese market has always been important to the UFC, and we want to bring MMA and all of its biggest stars back to Japan,” said Dana White, UFC President. “We are thrilled to be back with WOWOW.”

    “WOWOW is extremely pleased to announce that UFC is back on WOWOW, starting with the UFC 89 event in Birmingham, UK,” said Mr. Kazuyuki Omura, Chief Producer, WOWOW. “The UFC will telecast in High Definition on WOWOW’s popular “Timely-on-Air” format, a limited delay broadcast adjusting the airtime to a time that will be convenient for the sports fans in Japan. After airing over 50 UFC shows from 2001 to 2007, we are excited to once again provide our subscribers with the most prominent mixed martial arts program in the world.

  • s00nertp says:

    Fedor arm wrestles Superman to warm up.

    When you are the baddest guy on the planet, Dana should bend the rules.


    PS: How could it take this long for UFC to get into Japan?!?!?! is WOWOW really a company? I hope it means something more interesting in Japan.

  • James says:

    I think that Fedor does not want to tarnish the “mystique” that surrounds him. If he fights in the UFC and flops 1 or 2 fights (like Cro-cop) his reputation is ruined and his ability to draw big money is ruined. I also think Dana and Fedor’s agent are both full of bull_ _ _ _. The real issue is that Fedor is afraid to fight the top UFC guys. I think he’d probably clean out the division, too. He does not want to take that risk.

  • Big Dummy says:

    If M-1 was formed after negotiations with the UFC and Fedor broke down then why was Vadim so pissed off at Bodog for not displaying the M-1 logo more prominently when Fedor fought for Bodog?

    Here is what I’m talking about:

    I’m sorry but his story just doesn’t add up to me. He is saying that he wasn’t wanting an M-1 co-promotion type of deal with the UFC in order for them to get Fedor but he was awful pissed with Bodog for not displaying the M-1 logo prominently enough when Fedor fought in Bodog. Oh wait Vadim said M-1 wasn’t formed till after negotiations with the UFC broke down. So that article I linked to must be some made up BS then.

    But wait also in this part of the interview he seems to be very upset that M-1 wasn’t given proper credit for that first Affliction show and that this next event it will most definitely be promoted as an Affliction/M-1 co-promotion. This quote here:

    “Vadim Finkelchtein: Affliction is M-1 Global’s partner. We have an agreement with Affliction where we collaborate on these shows. Unfortunately, with the show that happened before, it may not have appeared that way and this is something we’ve resolved with our partners at Affliction. But the first show with Sylvia and this upcoming one is an Affliction/M-1 Global show and the agreement that we have in regard to Fedor is that Fedor is signed to M-1 Global. Fedor’s promoter is M-1 Global.”

    I don’t know how everyone else sees it but to me he seems to be very adamant that M-1 was a co-promoter with Bodog and felt very disrespected that they didn’t get proper billing and he also seems very adamant in the statement I just quoted that M-1 didn’t get proper billing for the first Affliction show but it will get proper billing with this next Affliction show.

    So my question is if he was so adamant about it with Bodog and after the UFC negotiations he seems to be very adamant about with Affliction then why wasn’t he so adamant about in the UFC negotiations? That seems very odd to me.

    The Bodog deal is enough to show he is lying about when M-1 was formed. I know you can argue well now it’s M-1 Global that was formed after the UFC negotiations. Big deal same people same company that worked with Bodog whether it was called M-1 or M-1 Global it’s still the same company. So it’s a lie that M-1 wasn’t formed before the UFC negotiations. I posted a link with enough evidence in it in my opinion to prove that that statement about when M-1 was formed is a lie.

    So to me I’m going with just like he demanded from Bodog and now Affliction he wants M-1 to be billed as the co-promoter for any event Fedor fights on as part of the deal. My name maybe Big Dummy but the evidence is telling me he isn’t telling the whole truth. Past and Present behavior leads me to believe he wanted M-1 being recognized as a Co-promoter with the UFC for any events Fedor fought on.

  • Fish says:

    WOWOW stands for World of Warcraft … of Warcraft

    and everyone knows that Fedor is the best heavyweight in the whole world, including Dana White

  • ihateemo says:

    @ Sam

    “Folks, if you’re going to respond to articles and comments, you need to make sure you’ve got your facts straight and that you’re on point. Opinions of all kinds of welcomed. False statements are not.”

    OK, well, here’s my opinion – I don’t believe the guy. :)

  • 45 Huddle says:

    PPV is Japan is not a big thing like it is here in the United States. From what I’ve been told, being on WOWOW is like being on HDNet right now, with a limited number of viewers and no real mainstream exposure.

    As for the UFC penetrating the Japanese market…. That is going to be extremely tough. To be a foreign company…. One that shut down Pride…. to come into a country and try and compete with K-1. That is tough. Unlike England, which doesn’t have social hang-ups of an American company doing business there….. The Japanese do have those social hang-ups (to generalize).

  • Echolocating says:

    I always thought that Pride was left in such a state of disarray that it practically imploded when the UFC officially took the reigns. I’m not saying that it wasn’t in the UFC’s best interest to dissolve Pride and try and take over all the fighter contracts and video library, but I don’t think they really had any choice in the matter. If someone knows different, let me know. I was just a little surprised by Vadim claiming the UFC purposefully shut down Pride, but maybe I’m the one who is misinformed.

    >>> Vadim : “…in reality what happened when they bought PRIDE was that they buried it and killed it.”

  • glock says:

    I hear ya about trying to get a fair shake in Japan, but now that I see the PPV deal was announced in Oct.3 mos ago, after a 2 year absence, the timing only reinforces my suspicions about the Okami announcement (If that’s what it was, maybe Dana’s just trolling to see how it might fly).

    I got nothing against Okami, I just think that for the limited # of defenses that Silva may be interested in, this is either safe, or serves a bigger purpose, (or both). Heck, I’d pay to see Hendo fight him again before I’d pay to see Okami…..

    Buttttt, if Okami won…..???? Then the japanese market will have metaphorically swallowed the UFC hook, the yakuza, will have made millions on the “upset”, and issued Zuffa their admission ticket to the larger market…..

    Yeah, THAT’S IT !! a conspiracy !!

    Anyway, it’s my horse, and I’m gonna beat it……..

  • jj420 says:

    Take it or leave it, I pesonally think it’s nice to hear the other side of the story and I can’t really bring myself to read the rest of the comments considering how irrational they generally are. Does the UFC pay people to write negative comments on here or are the lynchers so devout to the UFC’s brand imprinting rather than to the sport of MMA itself?

    Good interview Sam.

  • Cathedron says:

    Here’s what bugs me about this guy: He says that co-promotion was never an issue at the time because M-1 didn’t go ‘Global’ until after things fell apart with the UFC. However, Dana’s exact description of what M-1 supposedly wanted ended up being exactly what M-1 Global is now demanding of anyone that Fedor signs with. Hmm. Does Dana White have psychic powers or was it maybe because, I dunno, that’s exactly what Finkelchtein demanded during negotiations? I am forced to call shenanigans on Mr Finkelchtein.

    I can see the UFC allowing fighters to do BJJ but not combat sambo. Way more risk of injury. Same reason they don’t allow their fighters to do kickboxing or muay thai tourneys. And, to answer Mr Fink’s little jibe at the US, there is no reason nor is there a way for someone who graduated to go back and wrestle for his high school or college team. Amature wrestling in the US is virtually school-based, unlike combat sambo. It’s comparing apples to oranges.

    Fedor is being mishandled and used so a few people can promote themselves and their little business venture. I’m convinced of it thanks to these interviews. I wasn’t sure what to think before, but I’ve learned alot from reading what Mr Fink has had to say. Your management shouldn’t also be your promoter. It’s just a bad idea. Imagine if every management agency demanded they be called a “Co-promoter” of every fighter they represent even though they don’t have to put up any of the risk or money that the real promoter does? It’s the equivalent of that mooch in every family who asks you to put his name on a gift even though he won’t give you any money for it.

    It’s different from management/promotions like Monte Cox’s Adrenaline which is a way for his fighters to keep making money IF they don’t have a regular contract lined up. If Ben Rothwell signed with the UFC, Cox wouldn’t demand that it be a co-promotion with Adrenaline. He’s not a dick (so far). M-1 is just using Fedor to further their own ends. Fedor doesn’t need to be in the UFC, but he does need better management.

  • Justin Van Hook says:

    Pedro, Fedor is not a man because he has someone that speaks on his behalf? I think that’s called a manager. You’ve revealed your incredible ignorance with that statement.

  • mu_shin says:

    This interview does provide some insight into the byzantine behind-the-scenes nature of the MMA business.

    As a fan, and a consumer of many MMA blogs, I know many of us would like to see the Fedor question answered by seeing him compete with the best heavyweights in the world. Most would agree that Brock Lesnar and Frank Mir represent some of the best, as well as up and coming heavyweights like Shane Carwin and Cain Velasquez. As indicated in this interview, as well as the reportage surrounding the ongoing debate concerning co-promtions with the UFC, I’m not hearing anything from any source that makes me think such a co-promotion will ever become any more likely.

    As to the veracity of Vadim Finkelchtein, the tone of his comments strike me as the art of an extremely competent con-man; slick, reasonable, legalistic, and seemingly forthcoming, while attempting to portray himself as a neutral force trying to help his friend Fedor pursue his career. Nothing new here to indicate that the matches many fans would like to see are any more likely to take place. Of course, it takes two to tango, and there is some culpability to be shared for this impasse among the Zuffa powers that be…

  • Mark says:

    Fedor dont speak english very well so he needs this guy to constantly making decisions for him that suck.

    the only thing i see is that M1 is trying to ride with ufc’s popularity.

    i will say this to that russian manager of fedor.
    he said if dana claims dana got the best fighter then have dana’s best boy fight fedor? what i would say is if you want that to happen have fedor sign to ufc.
    and stop trying to ride on ufc’s popularity. i mean yes fedor is a great fighter but fedor is not bigger than ufc to make demands ufc is bigger than fedor ufc should make the demands. 10 years from now no more fedor and the ufc will be bigger i guarandamnteed. so to fedors camp to ask for demands are just bullSh!t.

  • Mark says:


  • Caidel says:

    Sam: Thanks for a great interview. Always interesting to hear other side of the story (although those who really searched for info knew a lot of these things sooner, but it is always good to have it clearly formulated). Great work.

    If I must take a side in this discussion (which I really don’t want to do), then I’m with Vadim. Basically both he and Dana agreed, that there were certain points in the deals, that cannot be accepted by Fedor (and Fedor would be an idiot, to sign deal like that) and that’s it.

    UFC does business certain way and for Fedor it is definitely do business another way. It is as simple as that. And so far, Affliction is doing better job in using Fedor, so no hard feelings there. We’ll see again in a year or two, after he meet all the top competetion in Affliction, maybe then there will be a new breed of HW’s in UFC for Fedor. Right now, proving ground is NOT IN UFC.

    For all the “Fedor must prove himself” guys: He is a consensus champ. For like a 3-4 years in a row now. Challengers should challenge the champion, not the other way around. Just because UFC is a UFC, their fighters are not gods.

  • Caidel says:

    Oh and Mark, shouting with CAPS LOCK. You are pretty stupid and hateful person. Congrats.

    BTW: I think, that based on result and type of defeat, Fedor should/could actually stay #1 even if he loses with Arlovski. :) (for example if he loses by cut, or in rankings, that doesn’t have Arlovski as #2)

  • MasterZero says:


    You’re wrong about the proving ground not being in the UFC because you’re not taking into account the intangibles. What I’m referring to is the octagon. Even the best fighters who’ve competed in front of 70k+ in Japan, in a ring before a quiet crowd have gotten the UFC/Octagon Jitters.

    The lively, rowdy crowd and the Octagon have a way of messing with a fighters mental game. If you’d like, I can list all of the PRIDE fighters that have lost in the Octagon. Fedor is human and he will lose too. But he’s got to get rid of his management if he’s ever going to fight in the octagon.

    Editor’s Note: Username edited. Please stop using the username you attempted to post under. If you do it again, I will have no choice but to ban your posting privileges.

  • Caidel says:

    MasterZero: Yeah, but there are also lists of fighters, that: Went from UFC to PRIDE and lost there (short list, but Liddell, Coleman are there, maybe others, don’t know), went from PRIDE to UFC and are doing well or better (A. Silva, average fighter in PRIDE, Jackson, Nog) and so on… That basically means it is not about PRIDE vs UFC, but simply unique fighters. You can have jitters also from dead silence and 70k in attendance :)

    Cage is also something different, but I think, that cage actually benefits fighters with strong GNP which is speciality of Fedor. But most of the time, I think, that these factors are overvalued and great majority of fights would end same, cage or ring. (I have no preference in ring or cage)

    BTW: Yeah, of course Fedor will lose sooner or later. And I’m saying that one loss doesn’t change that much, but I’m pretty eager to found out the ruckus and uproar about overhyping it would make, hehe :))

  • greg says:

    they just need to quit calling out fighters that theyre never gonna fight….i mean if u really wanna fight all these top guys like u claim then sign with the ufc….dana even said the ufc could pay fedor way more than any of the competition…i hear brock and randy made like 6million on ufc91…no way affliction is paying that much…just sign the contract or shut the fuck up. the ufc will never co-promote with m1….the ufc does not need fedor contrary to what fink thinks

  • Imbecile says:

    BigDummy has it right on this one. Finklechtein made demands of Bodog for prominent co-promotion. He made demands to Monte Cox for prominent co-promotion, even going so far as to set up M-1 Global as a co-company between his M-1 Mixfight and Monte Cox’s promotions. He made demands that Affliciton co-promote with M-1 Global, and was even apparently dissatisfied with the prominence with which M-1 Global was considered a partner in the first Affliction show.

    So, given that record, we are supposed to take Finklechtein at his word that he never made a similar demand of the UFC when they negotiated, even though this is corroborated by the UFC and is clearly accurate with Finklechtein’s other business dealings? I don’t believe the guy at all, and I think that was really the point 45huddle was trying to get at. While Finklechtein may not have directly contradicted himself, he led credence to a clear history of demands that don’t match up with what he is now saying he demanded of the UFC. I am disinclined to believe much of what he says.

    There were also alleged demands that the UFC take other Red Devil fighters if they wanted Fedor. Perhaps the dumbfounding matchup of Kiril Sidelnikov vs. Paul Buentello in the upcoming Affliction show provides at least some questions as to whether this rumored demand was not also true.

    I would have liked to have seen Finklechtein be more directly challenged on some of these points, and on some of his statements. If this was just a piece to allow Finklechtein free reign to express his opinions free of challenge, and act as a press tool for him and his fighter… well, then, mission accomplished. But I would prefer to see an interview that not only allowed him to say his piece, but also challenged him on contentious points and helped to reconcile many of the conflicting views out there. I was not too impressed with Finklechtein’s answers the few times he was at a loss for providing a self-complimentary statement in this interview, and I think very little was accomplished in the entire piece.

    For the record, I would expect the same journalisitc challenging to be a part of an interview with Dana White, as well.

  • dedstrk says:

    Vadim talks about co-promoting, like boxing does, and we all know that is what pretty much ruined boxing so why would Dana want to do something like that? Fedor fighting in the UFC isn’t worth the headaches. Vadim also talks about how the UFC should send who they consider the best to go and fight Fedor to see who the best is. That’s not the point that Dana is trying to make. Come to the UFC to fight all the best. Let’s see if Fedor could take on Couture, Mir, and Lesnar all in the span of a year and come out on top in all three. I believe that he would of course but my point is it’s not about a one off fight to see who the best is. It’s about going through the grind of fighting all of the best. If Fedor were to go through AA, Barnett, and a third solid challenger this year then there could be no denying by anybody that he’s the best. It doesn’t have to be done in the UFC in my opinion, obviously Dana has a different point of view.

  • Clint E. says:

    Finklechtein underneath it all wants to go one fight at a time, so after he drags the UFC into this trap and then Fedor wins one he can then negotiate the “next” fight at a higher purse. He himself said just put your “best fighter” up, and one can see that he doesnt want to get involved in a true multi fight contract and have to fight some talented heavies in the division. Not so fast Rusky even Mirko got drilled and I think you boys are afraid of the same, just as a previous fella wrote.
    Furthermore he is wrong when he spoke of so much true championship higher caliber talent elsewhere. Anderson Silva, GSP, and BJ Penn could roll the best in their weight classes from elsewhere, arguably.
    The risk he has is Fedor and himself being marginalized, and they will suffer greatly with a possible loss to Arlovski. If I was White I wouldnt change my business model for them. In time it will only prove White is correct, and Fedor will end up fighting for hand picked opponets at circus show events once a year.
    Arlovski please put an end to this all and knock him out cold !!

  • Nihendo says:

    It doesn’t matter how good Fedor is. He needs to fight guys as good as Arlovski to stay in the spotlight. There are only a few good HW’s outside the UFC but they will be in the UFC soon. Overeem will sign if he doesn’t have anyone to fight, so Fedor better fight him next before the UFC gets him … other than that who else is there – Josh Barnett, Kharitanov … that’s about it. Where is the new talent outside the UFC? Melvin Menhoef has power but his ground game is bad. I can’t think of anyone else outside the UFC who is Fedor worthy. Unless Affliction and other promotions start bringing in new talent the UFC will be the only place for a guy like Fedor to fight top ranked opponents.

  • Valleydawg says:

    Good interview overall. I agree. However, there is only one ‘truth’. In this instance, as in every other two-sided disagreement, the ‘truth’ likely lies somewhere in between White and Finkelchtein. It’s simply human nature…just reflect on any disagreement you’ve had with your spouse, sibling, parent, co-worker etc.

    That said…who cares! I’ll side with Dana White every time in these instances. Any of you remember a sport called ‘Boxing’? I do. It was pretty decent years ago. Now it sucks…badly! Too many promoter’s hands in the pot ruined the sport…who among us MMA fans wants the likes of Bob Aram and Don King ruining our sport? White is doing his best to prevent MMA in general, and the UFC specifically, from being overrun by managers and promoters…and he’s already said this publicly and frequently. Keep up the good work Dana, we don’t want MMA turning into a has-been sport like boxing.

  • pl4t says:

    I have no trouble believeing Finklestein.

    Anyone who followed the whole Jon Fitch contract saga closely knows the kind of b.s. that the UFC requires fighters to agree to. Some of it is way over the line.

    Clearly, as the concensus #1 P4P fighter in the world, Fedor has some leverage over the UFC if they are trying to sign him, and if he doesn’t like their ridiculous little requirements, he doesn’t sign the document.

    If you knew you were worth more, you would reject their offer too.

  • Couch Champ says:

    Fedor has whipped on a few of the UFC’s best HW’s already. I feel that if you think you got the baddest HW on the planet, and you think he can beat Fedor…Put up or Shut up. It’s not Fedor who’s backing away from the challenge. I personally admire the fact that Fedor won’t be bullied into signing his fighting life and potentially future monetary gain away because Dana wants it to be that way. “And still the best HW on the planet.”..FEDOR EMELIANENKO!!!

  • millroots says:

    You cannot say that UFC is the proving ground because many fighters are signing or trying to sign with them. If you worked in an industry where one organization offerred you a huge office, a big salary and a lot of flashy intangibles that would catch anyones eye, you would probably go there too. Thats what the ufc does, they throw money around give people exposure on a market they have almost cornered.

    money does not make you the best, talent makes you the best. Flashy names and cool logos don’t make fighters. so forget labels and organizations like UFC, K1 ect. Focus on what fighters have done.

    White is being terribly unreasonable with Fedor’s passion for sambo. Just throw in a claus on his contract. ex. “if fedor sustains any injury during any combat sambo competitions that impeed his fighting for the ufc this contract will become null and void upon the inability of Fedor to compete for the ufc”

    i am no business major, but that little inch to fedor not only gives the fans what they want (who enevitably decide who the major face of mma is) but protects Dana White’s money, business and reputation. Dana White wants too much control and too much control is never good.

  • Axl Rose says:

    Dana white is a bitch!!! He is single handedly bringing MMA down man!!!
    Who else would be so vicious to try and bring affliction’s card down by placing two payperviews right smak before and after the affliction show!?! He doesn’t care how many people buy the UFC 93 this week. He is just trying to take buys away from the Affliction card! The guy is a friggin disgrace!!!

    GO FEDOR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    The real and only best fighter of all times no matter what weight class!

    Dana White is a F’ bitch holding MMA’s popularity down from what it could really be!!!

  • Chris says:

    Look Dana is right here, if Fedor wanted to fight in the UFC, fight the best, he would sign. WHy does the UFC have to co promote and help out Fedors managers company M 1? Look, its very simple, Fedor doesnt want to be tied down and the UFC wants him to fight only for them. You think they want Fedor to come in, fight Randy, win the belt, then leave? WHat if he gets hurt in a Sambo fight? Then what? oh, sorry but the HW champ cant fight for a year cause he got hurt fighting outside the UFC? Give me a break. It doesnt have shit to do with his contract, its the fact that oh sorry but the HW champ if he was, cant fight for how long cause he hurt himself outside the UFC, fuck the contract, thats what its about, and anyone who doesnt see that doesnt know shit about buisiness. And really, Fedor doesnt get anyone to buy events. Aff did 100k, Brock does a million.

    And some of these kids are stupid as fuck, one kid saying UFC is bringing MMA down cause they have an event a WEEK BEFORE the aff event, how is that hurting Aff? They have two events a week before and after Aff, oh but he shouldnt put on events cause Aff is, so he cant have an event this month then right? Dana built MMA to what it is now, like him or not, the UFC is the biggest shit out in MMA for a reason, why should he bend over for this manager and Fedor? They dont need him, shit Fedor needs them. If he beats AA, then JB, then what? The UFC doesnt need Fedor at all, Brock is the champ, if he beats Mir, UFC has Kongo, carwin, Gonzaga, Cain for him to fight. They might want to get Overeem, so the UFC is fine, I want Fedor in the UFC, but he dont want to go there, and the UFC isnt gonna break what they do for one fighter, I mean he may be the best HW, but Dana is right, he will say he is the best when he beats the UFC’s best. Fedor isnt the huge draw so if he dont want to fight for the UFC, fuck him then. I hope AA wins, then AA and the UFC are still good, Dana wants AA back, didnt want him to go, if he wins, then he comes back over, fights the UFC HW champ. Go AA, and only cause AA would come back, Fedor wont, so if Fedor wins, who cares, he wont come to the UFC.


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