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Fedor Emelianenko talks UFC, hasn’t written off fighting in the Octagon

Iconic Russian heavyweight Fedor Emelianenko is a man of few words, opting for humility rather than constant self-promotion. As such, it’s rare to hear his thoughts on any number of topics including those he’s directly involved with.

However, Emelianenko recently addressed a few matters while being interviewed at a European fitness conference, and though his responses weren’t necessarily detailed he certainly got his point across including those on the differences between M-1 Global and UFC.

“They make their own fighters,” said Emelianenko of the UFC to GNP TV after one of the most tense dramatic pauses in MMA-interview history. “They train their own guys and don’t buy established fighters.”

“We’ll see,” he continued when asked if he was completely done considering the possibility of competing inside the Octagon one day down the road.

Check out the full interview below where Emelianenko also offers up his thoughts on future opponent Pedro Rizzo, trash-talking in MMA, and the quality of fighters outside of the UFC:


  • MCM says:

    *grabs drink and popcorn, sits back and waits for typical ensuing Fedor arguments.*

  • moosebaby02 says:

    Why is this guy still a story??

  • AlphaOmega says:

    I’m predicting easily 20+ comments in 24hrs here.

  • Lord Faust says:

    “They train their own guys and don’t buy established fighters.”

    Aside from buying PRIDE. And various other promotions, or bringing in Japanese fighters like “Sexyama” and Gomi.

    Aside from signing Hector Lombard and openly expressing interest in Eddie Alvarez.

    Yeah, the UFC total eschews name value fighters…

  • Lord Faust says:

    I love how I get trolled by every Fedor article that seems to imply that fighting in the UFC is simply a matter of Fedor wanting to.

  • Brendhan Conlan says:

    Faust, you clearly forgot about all the big names M-1 Global signs as opposed to developing their own talent.

  • Lord Faust says:

    True. Clearly a sign of my bias against M-1.

  • Dr.Stoppage says:

    All things considered it would still be AWESOME to have Fedor fight in the UFC,even just once .Somehow it would help complete the Circle Of MMA.

  • Angry Mike says:

    He’s not big enough to compete at heavyweight in the UFC, and I wonder if he’d be willing to cut down to 205. Even then, he’d have his hands full. He’s gotten older, and the talent level is higher than when he ruled Pride.

  • Richard Stabone says:

    Q: Where does he [Fedor] see the difference between M-1 Global and the UFC?

    A: They make their own fighters. They train their own guys and don’t buy established fighters.

    To me Fedor is clearly suggesting that it’s M-1 that makes their own fighters, while the UFC buys established fighters.

    Which of course is happening more & more frequently, thanks to the explosion in recent years of the UFC as the pinnacle of MMA. There is a place for other MMA orgs, but they’re now essentially a pipeline of talent to the UFC, which can offer so much more in terms of exposure, sponsorship dollars, and everything else that comes with being in the big leagues.

    I’d love to see Fedor fight in the UFC. He was just such a unique case, unlike really any other fighter, having already established himself as an icon of the sport, widely considered the greatest of all time (during the period of stalled negotiations), before the UFC had really become the monster it now is (for better & worse). So unfortunately, under this unique set of dynamics, the two sides were just never able to reconcile their differences. Damn shame.

    Who knows how he’d perform in the octagon at this stage of his career, but it would certainly be interesting. And he’s obviously more than capable of tearing thru some of the more widely regarded HW names the UFC currently has in its stable. I think Fedor vs. Cain would be an awesome fight. Too bad it’s unlikely to happen.

  • Lord Faust says:

    I’m hoping it was a mis-translation, or a typo, because the response makes no sense otherwise.

  • Mad_Hatter_XX says:

    Why is this a story? Hasn’t this topic and all it’s twists and turns been discussed and beaten to death? If Fedor signs with the UFC then that’s a story. Him saying “sure I would like to fight in the UFC, if they would accept all my and my promoters demands.” Not so much.

    Everytime Fedor mentions UFC in any context we don’t really need to hear about it.

    PS- Not hating on writer, just hating topic.

  • MMA-LOGIC says:

    Mad Hatter who is making demands?
    The UFC asks you to sign over your likeness FOR LIFE!
    Thats a demand my friend.
    Oh sorry I forgot the UFC has the power so its not cool to stand up to it.
    Conlan slap yourself. He did NOT say the UFC creates its own fighters like you say, he said the difference between M1 and the UFC was that they didnt buy name fighters. Now before you slap yourself a 2nd time think, now did he mean the UFC doesnt or M1 doesnt? Being that the UFC does and M1 doesnt? Now slap youself again…and again.

  • MMA-LOGIC says:

    HATERS! And that includes you Conlan. I just wish you guys actually thought first.

  • MMA-LOGIC says:

    Oh I see Rich Stabone has a brain. Rare round here.

  • MMA-LOGIC says:

    Oh I see Rich Stabone has a brain. At least somebody thinks. Rare round here.

  • MMA-LOGIC says:

    As much as you guys want to bitch about Fedor and M1 this what I got from that interview.
    Fedor is humble. Fedor doesnt BS, for example when asked “do you like Germany” instead of saying the typical “yes I love it, the fans are great” BS he says “I havnt seen much” as if to say I cant really comment. I respect that. Also when asked the difference between the UFC and M1 he says that “…they dont buy name fighters…they train their own”. This is (imo) referring to M1 not buying name fighters and training their own and NOT the other way around becuz this is true, M1 doesnt buy name fighters really and does train or create its own. Why you would think he meant the opposite is a puzzle to me. Perhaps you heard what you wanted to hear instead of what is obvious. The UFC buys name fighters every couple of weeks like Overeem, Shields, Lombard, Crocop, Kimbo, Nog, Yvel, Santiago, Gomi, Diaz, Rothwell, Rampage etc etc.
    Fedor was the best fighter in the world for the best part of a decade and I dont mean this p4p shit I mean the best fighter. The guy has a frame smaller than most LHWs and carried body fat, not caring for the asthetic or shallow part of the fight game. He became legend for his calm, methodical yet explosive approach to fighting. Whilst never stating that he was the best he NEVER turned down a fair fight with anyone. After the UFC bought Pride and shut it down he was left in limbo but took on the best from the UFC when they became free agents without a 2nd thought. He then tried to organise a fight with the self exiled UFC champ Couture before the UFC stopped it. Then Fedor found himself in SF fighting any top 10s available including Rogers, Hendo, Werdum and Big Foot. For this he gets hate. Why? Becuz the fans dont know what the fuck they are talking about.
    There is no question (imo) that Fedor would have fought any UFC HW there was as long as he did not have to sign that extremely unfair UFC contract that fighters are FORCED to sign in order to further their careers. Thats the way it is though, I just dont understand why so many take the side of bully over the guy getting bllied when he tries to stand up for his rights. Make no mistake, ALL fighters would stand up for themselves if they could but in todays landscape thats career suicide.

  • AlphaOmega says:

    Logic do you have your responses typed up ready to go on your computer?

  • Sykotick says:

    Buying named fighters instead of growing their own…. Like Liddell, Ortiz, Mir, Hughes, Velázquez, Dos Santos, Evans, Leben, Carwin, and B.J. Penn? All guys who rose to fame in the UFC, all pretty much no name fighters that grew in the UFC. Every company buys talent even though they grow their own. Baseball teams do it, football teams (European and American), Hockey, etc etc.

    As for the likeness rights, man as much as you complain that people need to open their eyes, Logic, you need to let this issue go. The forcing of signing away your likeness rights for nothing is called extortion and is highly illegal, and highly illegal doesn’t sound good on the resume of a company that’s helping the fight to legalize It’s sport in NY. If you sign your likeness rights over to a company, you get compensated for it. That A. Now B. If your likeness is used by the company to make anything that is profitable, if it flops or it makes it big, because your likeness was used, you’re getting a piece of the pie, financially because of it.

  • Lord Faust says:

    People always bring up the UFC asking fighters to sign away their rights to their likeness. I would really like someone with a legal background to examine — and, ideally explain — the differences between what the UFC wants and what every other sports league does.

    Even without signing the UFC contract, I have not seen Fedor’s PRIDE era footage used anywhere.

  • jeref says:

    The Best of PRIDE series had an episode dedicated to Fedor fights, but that series ran after UFC bought PRIDE. So now, just like any other UFC footage, it will never be seen anywhere not owned or contracted by the UFC. When’s the last time HDNet showed any “real” footage of UFC fights? Never.

  • Richard Stabone says:

    I can’t pretend to fully understand it all, but in the other major pro sports there is labor/union representation that helps protect the players when it comes to licensing/merchandising deals.

    Then you have the NCAA and the other companies (EA sports, Nike, Adidas, etc.) that generate enormous $$ while using the players’ likeness while the players themselves (errr… *student* athletes) receive nothing in terms of direct compensation.

    The UFC falls somewhere in the middle. Yes the fighters get compensated, but without any type of union representation to hold the UFC brass in check & negotiate a fair balance. And the fighters are forced to sign over their likeness not just for the time they’re under contract with the UFC but for life. When a guy like Jon Fitch has balked at the notion, we saw how well that worked out. Fitch tried to negotiate a 5 or 10 year deal, and this was Dana’s response…

    We’re looking for guys who want to work with us and not against us, and frankly I’m just so [expletive] sick of this [expletive] it’s not even funny. Affliction is still out there trying to build its company. Let [Fitch] go work with them. Let him see what he thinks of those [expletives]. [Expletive] him. These guys aren’t partners with us. [Expletive] them. All of them, every last [expletive] one of them.

    So back to the topic of Fedor… during that period of stalled negotations, you had the fighter widely considered the greatest of all time and already a legend of the sport while the UFC was still blooming, and there’s Dana White & the UFC on the other side of the table with their wildly rigid demands. I have no idea which side was more to blame than the other but it’s no wonder why that whole thing was a clusterfuck all along.

  • Richard Stabone says:

    In other words, individual player licensing is part of the overall collective bargaining agreement for the other major pro sports. No such thing exists with the UFC, as I understand it.

  • Richard Stabone says:

    Dana is obviously a smart enough guy and has played a huge role in the enormous growth of the UFC, but I think he has an oversimplified mindset when it comes to this stuff, which seems to suggest the following: the fighters need to shut up & sign on the dotted line, jump on board with us, and trust that we’re building up this company as big & as fast as possible which means the fighters will reap the rewards that come along with that.

    And yeah, it makes sense on a macro level, but on the micro level some of the fighters are like, “Hey, there are aspects of this plan that kinda sucks for me right now.”

    Too damn bad – play along or go try to fight elsewhere.


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