At last Friday’s Strikeforce conference call Fedor Emelianenko briefly broke free from his usual mild-mannered and inoffensive responses to openly criticize the UFC.
“I’m not a fan of watching their fights,” Emelianenko said via an interpreter. “I’ve seen what seems to be a negativity involved in a lot of their shows.”
When prompted he expanded further on his thoughts on the matter.
“I think it’s a combination in some ways of how the fights are presented and the manner they are presented. Also, in some ways, the behavior of a lot of fighters in the UFC takes away from the sport.”
His remarks led to criticism in some quarters in the days afterwards, with some struggling to see the distinction between the UFC and other companies such as Strikeforce in terms of the promotion and behavior of the fighters.
Fast forward a few day and it seems that the Russian heavyweight star has had a change of heart on the subject when he was questioned on his comments by mmafighting.com.
“I did not want to offend the UFC in any way,” he clarified. “What I meant is, I don’t like to watch fights in general. My main concern is what kind of culture I bring, myself.”
He also went on to add that he has not ruled out the possibility of signing for the UFC in the future.
“As for the UFC, when my contract with Strikeforce is over – I have two fights left on my contract – the UFC will have the time and the opportunity to prepare and offer a contract that may be interesting to me.”
Personally, despite his hasty backtracking I have no doubt that Fedor did indeed drop his guard just for a moment on Friday and revealed some of his true feelings towards the UFC.
Thought I thought some of his reasoning was wide of the mark it’s hard to blame Fedor for holding some resentment towards Dana White and Co. given some of the comments and criticisms they’ve fired in his direction during their tense stand-off.
What’s more significant however is that despite all this it appears that Fedor and M-1 Global aren’t ready to completely burn their bridges with the UFC just yet.
Whether that’s just a calculated ploy on their part to keep the hype alive, or if they genuinely believe a deal can be struck will only be discovered at the conclusion of his current deal remains to be seen.