Over the course of the past several months, M-1 USA Vice President Jerry Millen has received unprecedented access to former PRIDE and current WAMMA heavyweight champion Fedor Emelianenko.
The fruits of Millen’s labor will be on display Tuesday night when Fox Sports Net premieres the thirty minute documentary, Fedor: Baddest Man on the Planet (check local listings for time and availability).
Much of the footage that will be seen in the FSN documentary was filmed by Millen and his crew. In December, the former PRIDE executive made a 30-hour trek from his home just outside of Detroit, Michigan to Stary Oskol, Russia so that he and his crew could document a week in the life of Emelianenko as he prepared for Saturday’s title defense against former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski during Affliction and M-1′s “Day of Reckoning.”
“Four of us geared up with tons of equipment; lights, tripods, HD equipment, steady cams, and just about everything you can imagine,” Millen said during an interview with FiveOuncesOfPain.com. “We started out in America and flew to Moscow, which is about a 14 hour flight, on average.Then when you get to Moscow you take a 12 hour train ride to Stary Oskol because there’s only a small airport with one runway in Stary Oskol. It’s the same travel routine Fedor goes through every time he fights.”
For the most part, Fedor has been guarded about his personal life in the past. However, according to Millen, he opened himself up during filming like never before.
“He was gracious in allowing me and my camera crew into his life,” began Millen. “We spent a whole week with him after he had just returned from Thailand, where he was filming a movie.We got to see his full training regimen. He would get up in the morning and run through the woods in the freezing cold. Later, he would hit the gym where he worked with his grappling and standup coaches as well as his sparring partner, Kirill Sidelnikov.
“We were also able to do an interview with his mother, which was tremendous because she had never done an interview before. She’s a great woman and it was great to have been given access into his home and elements of his home life that few people have ever had a chance to witness. It was awesome to hear her talk about Fedor as a child and how he and his brother, Aleksander, grew up. She also talked about some of his early fights, which was fascinating.”
One aspect of Fedor that his fans will be surprised to learn about is just how spiritual he is. Millen said that he and his crew were allowed to attend Church with him, where they interviewed one of his biggest fans.
“We were able to interview his priest, Father Andre, who is an awesome guy,” he said. “Father Andre is a very close confidant of Fedor and even used to train Sambo back in the day. He’s a huge fan of mixed martial arts and I believe he’ll even be at the fight on Jan. 24.”
Another surprising piece of footage that fans will get to see is Fedor jumping rope inside of a ring inside his boxing gym side-by-side with ten-year old children.
“As a part of his training camp, Fedor trains privately with his coaches and sparring partners. However, he also participates in open classes,” Millen stated. “The boxing gym he trains at is open to the public and Fedor actually trains with people that have joined the gym.”
It’s Fedor like you’ve never seen him before. For those who cannot wait until Tuesday’s premiere on FSN, we encourage you to check out the exclusive photo gallery below.
In the past, critics have claimed that Fedor and his management have isolated themselves from the American media and not made themselves as accessible as they should. As a result, most of his most passionate fans are left wondering just who is the man behind the fighter. When asked about the criticism, Millen responded by advising Fedor fans to make sure they watch <em>Fedor: Baddest Man on the Planet.“The thing people have to understand is that Fedor is not in this to become a star,” began Millen. “Fedor doesn’t want to be a celebrity. Fame is not why he fights. He fights because he loves the sport and loves competition. Fedor is a very private person but on this FSN special, you’re going to see footage of Fedor that you’ve never seen and it’s the kind of footage that I personally thought no one would ever get to see. The special is phenomenal – if you want to know more about Fedor, then all you have to do is watch the Fox Sports Net special.”
As a preview for the documentary’s premiere, Millen has made available an exclusive photo gallery of pictures taken during his crew’s filming of Fedor. Additionally, there are several photos that have been provided from the Emelianenko family for the M-1 archives that Millen is also making available to FiveOuncesOfPain.com.
Inside the gallery, you will get a glimpse of the actual filming; witness Fedor training for Arlovski; see the inside of the boxing gym he trains at; and photos of his priest, Father Andre, as well as his mother. Also available are photos of Fedor and younger brothers, Aleksander and Ivan, as well as a photo taken while Fedor served in the Russian Army.
“When Fedor was in the Army, he started out in the tank division and later became a fireman,” Millen said when discussing the photos. “In talking to him about his day in the Army, he honestly really enjoyed his time in the military… Fedor went into the Army when he was 18 so he’s either 18 or 19 in the photo.”