Fedor Emelianenko’s second straight defeat last night at the hands of Antonio Silva was a major blow for the Russian star’s management team M-1 Global who are best known for their relationship with the fighter.
After the fight M-1 Global’s President Vadim Finkelchtein admitted he was shocked by the defeat.
“Well, my initial reaction was I couldn’t believe my eyes that the fight was stopped and that Fedor was going to lose the fight,” Finkelchtein told Sherdog.com via his translator. “But I don’t consider it a loss in that the first round of the fight Fedor clearly won, and the second Silva clearly won, and we don’t know what would have happened in the third round.
“Silva is a very big guy, he outweighed Fedor by about 60lbs, but at the same time we don’t know what would have happened. Clearly the eye came into play and as a result it is a loss, but I don’t necessarily feel Fedor lost the fight because we don’t know what would have happened had it went to a third round.”
In a separate interview with MMAfighting, M-1 Global’s Director Of Operations Evgeni Kogan was also disappointed that the fight didn’t go to a third round, but conceded that the doctor’s stoppage was just.
“From the point of view of fans there was a certain amount of disappointment that it wasn’t allowed to go to the third round. I think Fedor probably just won the first, and obviously Silva won the second, and I think everyone wanted to see the third round, and probably we’re thinking, after everything that happened in the second round, Fedor had to win in the third, because the only thing he didn’t get hit with was the kitchen sink. So I think people were disappointed, but I think the fighters health has to be a first priority, and so I think [the stoppage] was just.”
After the fight Fedor revealed that retirement was now a strong possibility, but Finkelchtein says he’s going to try to convince the fighter that it’s not time for him to call time on his legendary career just yet.
“Well I don’t know, Fedor was clearly upset for his second loss in a row and he trained very hard for the fight, but I hope that he doesn’t retire, and I’m going to see what I can do and talk to him and try to convince him not to, because I don’t believe he lost the fight in terms of, he showed a lot of heart, he survived that second round, and he could have come back and won the fight. I believe he has enough strength to continue to fight and win again. Ultimately it’s Fedor’s decision”
Kogan also seems to believe that Fedor may feel differently given time.
“I think there’s probably a good chance that he comes back. I think that it was probably likely that the disappointment was speaking, but not being Fedor, I couldn’t say for sure.”
There’s been a perception for some time that M-1 Global have been overly reliant on Fedor’s success to help grow their own company, but both men state that the show will go on with or without their biggest asset.
Kogan was defiant that was not the case.
“It’s not a blow at all,” he stated boldly. “Business as usual. We’ve got some pretty exciting things to announce in the next couple of weeks for the U.S. We have Fedor on television in Russia for 45 weeks this year, and so for us 2011 really is a breakout year, and we’ve really done a lot to get here, and I think that this was an eventuality that was always going to happen, and we’re prepared.”
Finkelchtein was also sticking to the, ‘business as usual,’ theme.
“I wouldn’t change anything. We continue to expand, have our tournaments in different countries all around the world,” Finkelchtein said. “We plan on having four M-1 Challenge shows in the United States this year, so it’s not going to make a difference, if Fedor retires, how M-1 operates.”
One interesting side note to Kogan’s interview – at the start of his conversation with Ariel Helwani he appeared to scold the popular interview for overlooking him prior to the event.
“First of all, I’m disappointed that I’m only getting interviewed after the fight, not beforehand, so next time I’ll expect an interview beforehand,” Kogan stated.
That remark is unlikely to win the company any fans, while also indicates the uphill battle the much maligned M-1 Global company has to be accepted as things stand in the U.S, and if Fedor does indeed retire then they may find the going even tougher in the future.
Check out both men’s interview below.