Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE
What I’m trying to say is… if UFC can change… and M-1 can change… everybody can change!
At 36, Emelianenko is hardly over the hill, but following the death of his father, the chances of him ever stepping foot inside a UFC branded cage are about as likely as Nostradumass winning a Pulitzer Prize for his fight picks, thanks also in part to the ugly history between ZUFFA and M-1, the promotion in charge of telling the Stary Oskol-native what to do.
But with or without him, UFC President Dana White told the Scrumbags he still wants a piece of that pie, as early as this year:
"We're working on Russia right now. I would say this year. I think what's going to go on in Russia is we'll put on a live event there first. We'll do a live event in Russia, and just like every other event we've done, you do the live event and it explodes. Mixed martial arts is already big over there. Sambo is big over there. We'll see where the market goes from there."
Click here to see his entire conversation (starting at 22:25).
The Las Vegas-based fight promotion already has a stranglehold on the stateside market and it's slowly but surely extended its grip Internationally, holding recent events in Canada, England, Sweden, Germany, Australia and even China.
True, "The Last Emperor" is already behind the iron curtain for good (we think), hanging up his shoes last year in front of a hometown crowd, but the Soviet fight scene is still bustling thanks to its Sambo submission tournaments and recent Octagon imports like Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Imagine the buzz if the cameras flipped over to Fedor sitting cageside on fight night?