Why have there been so few Russian fighters in the UFC? Russians are known for having excellent wrestlers and boxers. They also have a rich culture of other martial arts practice such as, hand-to-hand combat, Sambo, and eastern martial arts like Judo. Russian fighters fared fairly well in Pride Championships. Both Emelianenko brothers had great success and Sergei Kharitonov, and other fighters, put on some exciting fights. So why is Nurmagomedov the only Russian fighter signed by the UFC at present? Vlady is Ukranian, which is close to being Russian. The last fighters from that region of the world were Arlovski (Bellarussian) and Ansar Chalagnov. Andrei Semonov racked up a 1-1, putting on two exciting fights, yet was never resigned. Why did Fabricio Werdum end up fighting Mike Russow at UFC 147 and not Sergei Kharitonov? Kharitonov beat both Werdum and Russow in Pride. He's also the last man to beat Overeem. After the jump this article will present some theories on why Russian fighters haven't made it to the UFC.
Theory one: Being from Brazil, Joe Silva, the UFC matchmaker, has an uncomplicated relationship with Brazilian fighters and management. He also communicates well with North American talent. Perhaps Joe just has trouble dealing with Russian and Slavic fighters.
Theory two: A corrupt political culture and society discourage Russians from fighting in the UFC. I remember reading once that a great hockey player from Russia joined the NHL and shortly thereafter had his family kidnapped. Sure, it was probably just for money. Russian nationalism, however, runs strong. Russians don't always like it when fighters fight for organizations outside their country. Andrei Semenov caught a fair deal of criticism just for fighting in Bodog fight. The evidence that disproves this theory are Fedor and Kharitonov's fights in the states.
Theory three: There is enough money to be made in Russia teaching and performing in national martial arts.
Well, there you have it. I'd like to hear what people think of these three theories and perhaps add more. Remember that Bellator has some admirable Russian fighters in Alexander Shlemenko and his undefeated proteges Alexander Sarnavskiy and Andrey Koreshkov . Why didn't the UFC pick up some of these guys. I really wished we would have seen Kharitonov vs. Werdum instead of Russow vs. Werdum. Russow is built like a cabbie- someone who sits around in a car all day long. Oops, he's a Chicago cop. Maybe he'd be better if he quit his day job and trained seriously. Off subject, I'm one of the fans who want to see him fight Big Country with loser going down to 205. Rec this post please. This is a complicated issue that has been ignored too long.