Slam! Sports caught up with Luigi Fioravanti and Joe Doerksen to talk about their upcoming fight on June 10. Fioravanti is coming off a loss to Andrei Semenov at M-1 Challenge XXV, and wanted to get a few things off his chest about fighting over in Russia for M-1:
"I'd take the guy down and he was grabbing on the ropes and he was kneeing me in the (groin), poking me in the eyes and throwing elbows (to the head) when there are no elbows in M-1," Fioravanti said. "If you watch the fight, every time he kneed me or something, I (said to the ref), 'He's kneeing me in the balls; he's poking me in the eyes.' I kept telling the referee and he thought I was just bull-----ing."
"The thing is, there's no (athletic) commission in Russia. So his coach was giving him something to smell. I don't know if it was smelling salts to wake him up in between rounds or what. I was just kind of like, 'What the hell? I don't fight like this.'
"It was in a little vial or bottle or something, but what can I say? It's not illegal over there."
My eyes widen a bit when I find an opportunity to slam M-1 for some transgression or another, so I checked out the fight on Youtube to investigate Fioravanti's claims...
...and I'm not sure what he's talking about. Semenov throws a knee in the first that may have landed low, and the referee broke up a clinch in which Fioravanti had a waistlock from back control. Questionable stuff, but not outlandish.
In fact, the most egregious thing I could find was Semenov refusing to stay put in the neutral corner after the referee halted the bout for an obvious low blow late in the third. Again, though, this is small potatoes in the larger scheme of the fight.
As for the smelling salts accusation, if it took place, the cameras didn't pick it up.
It's possible that Fioravanti's gripes are legitimate, but at first glance it looks more like sour grapes.