Ariel Helwani Interviews M-1 Global’s Evgeni Kogan

Ahead of his ‘MMA Hour’ on Monday, Ariel Helwani was promoting the fact that Fedor Emelianenko was going to be on his show. Unfortunately the Russian fighter, for reasons yet to be discovered, didn’t turn up.

Instead M-1 Global’s Evgeni Kogan gave a rare hour long interview on the show instead. Kogan started his job as M-1 Global’s Director Of Operations in January and is now seen as the company’s equivalent of Dana White.

Look below for a full rundown of the key-notes emerging from their conversation.

– Kogan confirmed that Fedor’s had indeed said that he wasn’t impressed with the UFC at a recent Strikeforce conference call.

He went on to clarify that Fedor didn’t like the behavior of some of the fighters and the clips and the advertising that the UFC uses, saying he found it too aggressive.

“He approaches the sport specifically as a sport rather than as entertainment, rather than something where fighters should half kill each other in the ring.”

– In regards to Fedor’s comments in the same conference call that he was considering retirement, Kogan said he believed it had been taken out of context, “to a certain extent.” He compared it to Anderson Silva saying that he had been considering retirement, and believes that perhaps the Russian fighter is just, “keeping people guessing a little bit.”

Kogan’s personal opinion is that he will continue fighting after the remaining two fights on his Strikeforce contract are over.

– According to Kogan M-1 Global have never stopped a fight with Alistair Overeem taking place, and have no problem with him as an opponent.

– Kogan restated his belief that if Fedor gets through his fight with Werdum then his next bout could well be on PPV. When asked to clarify that stated, “it’s preliminary, but more likely than not it will be.”

– Fedor has apparently dropped a little bit of weight in preparation for his fight with Werdum and Kogan says that in training he’s looked, “scarily fast,” compared to his previous fight with Brett Rogers.

– Kogan also confirmed that Fedor had been nominated for a political role back in Russia, but if he was elected it would not require much of his time and wouldn’t affect his MMA career.

– In response to the negative reaction that M-1 Global has received from both fans and the media in the past, Kogan says they hope to redress that by looking to, “write our own narrative a bit more. We’re going to speak on our own behalf a little bit more rather than staying silent as we have done in the past.”

– According to Kogan, Fedor is the best paid athlete in the sport (note: some have since questioned the validity of that statement, and Kogan himself later admitted he didn’t know exactly what UFC fighters were getting paid), and that validates M-1 Global’s role in his career.

– Regarding whether Fedor needs to fight the likes of Brock Lesnar and Shane Carwin to cement his legacy, Kogan says that Fedor has been at the top of the sport for 10 years and it’s not doing justice to his career to say that he needs to fight fighters who’ve only had a handful of fights.

He goes on to say that there are fights he feels Fedor should take, but that sometimes there are circumstances that make it, “impossible to make fights.”

Kogan does however believe that if it was possible to put on a fight with Lesnar for instance, that Fedor, “would welcome and really look forward to.”

– With regards to the possibility of Fedor fighting in the UFC, Kogan says anything can happen and that, “I wouldn’t rule anything out.”

– Significantly Kogan noted that M-1 Global’s previous stance that they would only let Fedor fight in the UFC if there was co-promotion involved, may not be a deal-breaker in any future negotiations they have with them.

– According to Kogan M-1 Global has had no contact with Dana White since he became the Head Of Operations in January.

– As for Gegard Mousasi, Kogan says that they are working hard to get him back under the M-1 Global banner and he is “reasonably confident” that he will do so in “the near future.”

– M-1 Global’s aim now is to find the next Gegard Mousasi or Fedor Emelianenko and help develop them into a star.

Watch the full interview with Kogan on The MMA Hour below.

Ross launched MMA Insight (previously in 2009 as a way to channel his passion for the sport of mixed martial arts. He's since penned countless news stories and live fight reports along with dozens of feature articles as the lead writer for the site, reaching millions of fans in the process.