My colleague Kid Nate considers himself a PED realist. None of us, after all, are innocent. As MMA fans we are contributing factors in young men and women doing horrible things to the human body, both their own and their opponent's. But we have to draw the line somewhere. Carnage in the cage is one thing-drug fueled carnage something else entirely.
Most MMA fans seem to agree with this premise, but logic and consistency go out the window when emotions get involved. And these days, almost no one in the industry creates more of an emotional reaction than Fedor Emelianenko. These days Fedor can't win (not even in the cage). The Russian legend is willing to step into the cage against the mammoth Alistair Overeem, but when he does so, wants the contest to be on a level playing field.
Like Floyd Mayweather, who earlier this year demanded potential opponent Manny Pacquiao face additional scrutiny and real drug testing, Fedor is apparently the villain here. I can't see how. He's well within his rights to demand Overeem, a man who has grown from a stick thin light heavyweight into a mammoth heavy, accept Olympic style drug testing. But most fans are looking at it in another way. They'd rather believe Emelianenko's drug test demands are all a smoke screen. Dave Walsh from Head Kick Legend seems to agree:
We talked to Alistair Overeem's manager, Bas Boon today to see where he stands on this, and of course, he had an answer. In regards to GG and Overeem "ducking" the Olympic Style drug testing, "all bullsh*t" was Boon's response. They will submit to drug tests like every other fighter on the card, which means they also are against certain fighters having certain treatment.
According to Boon, M-1 Global has no intentions of putting together an Alistair Overeem vs. Fedor Emelianenko bout according to their timeline of "late November or early December." M-1 Global is currently putting together a fight against Josh Barnett at Dynamite!! 2010 at the end of December, according to Boon, and this seems like a desperation move by M-1 Global management now that their negotiation tactics of the past (stalling, demanding more money, threatening lawsuits, etc.) have been exposed and cannot hold up. So it seems that calling out Overeem for a fight in Strikeforce was a negotiation tactic to help grease the wheels on the possible Barnett fight.
In fact, Overeem himself believes Fedor only issued a challenge because he and his management team had gotten wind of the Golden Glory fighter's plans to return to K-1 this fall instead of defending his title in Strikeforce:
The reason is because if I enter the Final 16 and win, I will fight the K-1 Final in December. My decision was made because nothing was certain and Strikeforce and M-1 didn't act fast enough when I made my decision to start K-1 training. Now I read on the internet that Fedor and his management want to fight me all of sudden. Do they really need two months of thinking and negotiating? I think it's a little strange to be honest.
All this begs the question: is Fedor afraid of Alistair Overeem? Surely not. The mighty and unfeeling Russian assassin? The man who stared down Mirko Cro Cop? The man who dismantled Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira? Who shellacked the giant Tim Sylvia?
Of course, Fedor's glory days are now merely memories. He's older, vulnerable, and looking for a pay check. Fighting Overeem would be hard. Maybe hard isn't in his vocabulary any more? Or maybe, just maybe, Fedor has recognized his own MMA mortality. It would be hard to miss the signals-tapping out to Fabricio Werdum was a pretty clear sign. In his Pride days he was so good it didn't matter what brand or how many pharmaceuticals his opponents ingested. Things have changed. Today's Fedor can't overcome size, strength and modern chemistry. He need to level the playing field to win.
I'm proud of Fedor and his team. Someone has to take a stand against the rampant drug use in our sport. People bury their head in the sand, pretending that PED abuse isn't a part of MMA culture. Shane Carwin showed us it is out there. It's time to do something about it. Once again, Fedor Emelianenko will lead the sport forward-whether it wants to follow him or not.