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Vadim Finkelstein and Fedor have come back to Russia on the evening of July 30. M-1 Global president immediately gave an exclusive interview to our site, main goal of which was to respond to various critical arrows that were sent towards M-1 Global on Russian sites and forums in the last days. He also discussed the talks with the UFC and further plans of development of M-1 Global. Here is the first part of the interview
Under which conditions are you prepared to make deals with other organizations?
M-1 is a worldwide organization. You know well that we do M-1 Challenge, M-1 Selection, but it's hard to do bigger events by ourselves, so we are open for a partnership with other organizations.
On the mixfight.ru site there is a poll that asks which organization should M-1 work with: 55% - UFC, 14% - Dream, 9% Strikeforce. Can you comment on these numbers from your point of view.
We will only work with those organizations, with whom it is profitable. I fully understand the fans, and their wish so that we would give away Fedor to UFC, for whatever destiny awaits (Russian derogatory saying, as if to say, give him to UFC and they will do with him whatever they please). But we will not do so, because we will only work with organizations on equal footing.
Who is Fedor's most likely opponent right now?
Right now there are many good opponents: Monson, Overeem, Buentello, Rogers. Unfortunately UFC's athletes are locked inside a cage...
When would the fight take place?
It's possible that it will take place very soon. This year 100%.
Did you and Fedor meet with Dana White, what is his position?
We met with UFC's attorneys. From our side we had Fedor, myself, Apy and our attorney. Dana and Lorenzo talked to us through a conference call, because they were in Europe at the moment. Unfortunately Dana didn't have the opportunity to take pictures with Fedor and ask him for an autograph (laughs). They made a good offer for a fighter of a champion's calibur. If this offer was made two years ago - we would've taken it. But today Fedor is co-owner of M-1 Global. Our goal is to do as much as possible for development of MMA not only in America, but in the whole world.
How was Dana white when you talked to him?
He was very dimplomatic in the conversations, there was no shouting at each other. Everyone carried themselves quite friendly. The meeting was held on the highest level of business negotiations.
There are rumors on the internet that Fedor was offered 6 fights and $30 million dollars for the whole deal.
There was not even mention of such numbers. That's just rumors. We discussed two, maximum three fights. There was also talk about deals on the PPV, and they offered us a commercial spot. But we are not sponsors, we are a company who organizes competitions. In some countries we have better contracts than UFC. For example, in Russia Fedor's fight was going to be shown on the central "Channel One", while UFC is being shown on the cable "NTV Plus". Also UFC is not too popular in Asia. We offered to put up money and do the production in those countries where we already have contracts.
Many MMa fans think that Fedor's career will come to an end without even starting, if he doesn't sign with UFC (many believe that UFC is a deserving ending to the career).
Fedor became a legend without ever competing in the UFC, while defeating soundly the UFC champions. Fedor today is someone to look up to. He is a head of a company, that is trying to get its niche, which is not easy, but has all the potential to develop MMA in the world.
The fans think the with his refusal to go to UFC, Fedor Emelianenko has demonstrated a big disrespect to his fans - and he can lose the love and respect of the fans in the whole world.
If I was one of the fans I would lose respect for UFC, for destroying companies and running monopolistic politcs, while not allowing MMA to develop. Who accuses Fedor of disrespect - the fans of UFC, Fans of the brand; but not the fans of our whole sport; they're victims of the PR-machine started by UFC.