After a brief retirement, former PRIDE FC heavyweight champion Fedor Emelianenko returned to mixed martial arts (MMA), hooking up with some old friends in Japan who -- according to his ex-manager -- will ride "The Last Emperor's" back and feed him an assembly line of tomato cans.
I guess the more things change, the more they stay the same.
M-1 head cheese Vadim Finkelchtein is no longer calling the shots for Emelianenko and therefore, believes he cannot be held responsible for keeping the heavyweight legend from joining the ranks of Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) or even Bellator MMA.
From the Russian-based promotion's official website:
"Fedor makes all the decisions by himself now. In our past, all troubles and accusations used to befall on me. They said that I was the reason that Fedor didn't fight in UFC. But now I say officially: I don't have any relations to this one. Nothing. My professional opinion: all they do now is some kind of shady enterprise. That's clear they have such kind of draw as Fedor. But you can't ride on his back forever. You don't play cards with the Ace only, right? If they manage to get a decent team... But they need to entice more fighters, and pay huge money. I have a great fighters in M-1 and the only problem is that they're being enticed by UFC. Where does Japan get top fighters? I don't know. Maybe some of them will be provided by Bellator or KSW. Still, I don't know any fighter of top level in KSW, except Mamed Khalidov. As for Jaideep Singh, I think he is no match to Fedor Emelianenko. Too weak opposition for him."
Singh is expected to face Emelianenko on New Year's Eve.
Finkelchtein may be disappointed with the direction of "The Last Emperor's" career, but probably not as disappointed as fans, some of whom were hoping to finally see the aging Sambo specialist inside the Octagon against the world's top heavyweights.
For more on Emelianenko's return to MMA click here.