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Vadim Finkelchtein: The UFC didn't offer Fedor Emelianenko a specific deal, just beat around the bush

In part 2 of BloodyElbow’s interview with Vadim Finkelchtein, the M-1 Global head honcho discusses heavyweight great Fedor Emelianenko, the negotiation issues between the UFC and M-1, and the death of Strikeforce.

Esther Lin

M-1 Global may be one of the larger MMA promotions with events in multiple countries but for many years they were a company synonymous with a single fighter: Fedor Emelianenko.

Considered to be one of the greatest heavyweights in the history of the sport, Emelianenko maintained an undefeated streak for over 10 years and was undoubtedly the hottest commodity that the UFC could sign between 2006-09.

Nevertheless, Emeleianenko never fought in MMA's top promotion, and much of the blame for that was placed on his infamous manager, Vadim Finkelchtein. While the UFC appeared keen to sign Emelianenko, President Dana White revealed that several of M-1 Global's demands made it impossible for them to reach a fair deal.

Some of the alleged issues in the negotiation process included M-1's insistence on the UFC building a stadium in Russia, co-promotion between the two companies, and an exorbitant figure as a signing bonus.

However, Finkelchtein was adamant that those demands never existed and were exaggerations from the UFC boss.

"It is drivel," Vadim told "The UFC doesn't have any relation to our arena; similarly about the earnings.  The UFC didn't offer a specific deal to us.

"Fedor talked about that, hundreds of times. They beat about the bush. There was nothing but talk. We had great offers from Affliction and Strikeforce, so we worked with them."

Once negotiations went sour with the UFC, Fedor jumped to both Affliction and Strikeforce, both of which shut down operations shortly after Emelianenko left the promotion. In fact, M-1 Global was partially blamed for the death of Strikeforce, apparently due to Emelianenko's allegedly inflated salary.

"In Strikeforce's death, we are not the ones who are to blame. There is another promotion over there which was more of the cause."

Emelianenko ended his professional career several weeks after his KO victory over Pedro Rizzo in June 2012. Although White claimed that he was approached to set up a Brock Lesnar vs Fedor fight in 2014, he was unable to convince Emelianenko to come out of retirement.

Vadim confirmed that his prize heavyweight would not come out of retirement, as he had already begun his post-fighting career and philanthropic work in Russia.

"At the moment, Fedor is doing social activities, he is developing MMA in country and all over the world."

After losing his top client and brand ambassador, Finkelchtein is aware that it is unlikely for Russia to ever see another fighter of Fedor's stature and mystique in the near future - a fact that only adds to the great heavyweight's legacy in the sport.

"You need so much time to see a new Fedor on the horizon, because he hadn't lost in ten years. We have many talented fighters, many of them right after finishing contracts, cross into other promotions and have their wins there."

With that in mind, what is Vadim's one regret with regards to Fedor?

"(I could have) made a few more fights."

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