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Exclusive Interview with Vadim Finkelstein

Over the course of the past several weeks I’ve been critical of how M-1 Global and Mixfight M-1 have communicated news to the general public., the Russian arm of M-1 Global, responded by making Vadim Finkelstein available for an interview via e-mail.

Finkelstein, who recently returned to his native home in Russia after traveling to Japan last week for a press conference to announce a co-promotion between M-1 and former promoters and staff from Pride, addressed many of the questions that has been raised by this blog and others.

Finkelstein is also the manager of Pride heavyweight champion Fedor Emelianenko and addressed questions in the interview regarding the recent level of competition that Fedor has faced recently.

Sam Caplan: There has been a great deal of mis-communication in regard to Fedor’s
involvement with a card to be held in Japan on Dec. 31. M-1 Global president Monte Cox has said it will not be an M-1 Global event yet a statement made on, which I believe is affiliated with M-1 Global, claims that it will be an Mixfight M-1 event. I realize there’s a difference in the phrase “M-1 Global” and “Mixfight M-1″ but both are using the M-1 name. Can you clear up any confusion by stating who will be promoting the Dec. 31 card in Japan that Fedor will be fighting on?

Vadim Finkelstein: An event scheduled for December, 31 in conjunction with M-1 Global and ex-Pride staff. We plan a long-term collaboration with them.

Mixfight M-1 is a Russian MMA organization which makes part of M-1 Global. M-1 Global intends to hold events worldwide.

Sam Caplan: Recent speculation has suggested that Hong Man Choi will be fighting Fedor on the card. Has an opponent for Fedor been determined? If so, can you name that opponent?

Vadim Finkelstein: Hong Man Choi is most likely to be Fedor’s opponent for New Year. There are other candidates, which we are not revealing at this time.

Sam Caplan: UFC president Dana White continues to be critical of Fedor’s management and Fedor’s status as the possible best pound-for-pound fighter in the world. Do you have a response to the following quote attributed to Dana White:

“Fedor isn’t even a top-five heavyweight let alone (ranked) top pound-for-pound.”

Vadim Finkelstein: Well, it’s actually good that it’s not Dana White but professionals being responsible for making up the world rankings based on the facts and current statistics.

Things he says about rankings benefit only his and the UFC’s interests. If I were the UFC president and wasn’t able to sign the best fighter in the world, odds are that I would probably make the similar statements.

Sam Caplan: White is not alone in his criticism. Many MMA fans in North America have been critical of the level of competition that Fedor has fought in recent years. Do you feel there is any validity in questions about the competition Fedor has faced recently?

Vadim Finkelstein: Fedor has always faced the best fighters in the world and he was victorious over every single one of them. His opponents were in the top-10 or top-5. Basically, every opponent may pose a threat. There are no weak opponents at this level. Fighting the best and finishing the fights in victorious fashion, Fedor has already proven his strength, talent and his right to be on the top. As for criticism, well, people are free to criticise anyone.

Sam Caplan: Is it possible that Fedor will face Josh Barnett?

Vadim Finkelstein: Yes, this fight may happen in the future.

Sam Caplan: Are there any other possible opponents available that you feel can prove to be a strong test for Fedor. Is so, could you name a few fighters that you feel are strong competition?