Posts Tagged ‘america’

You have fought thirty-six times in four countries in just over ten years. You have held championship titles in three organizations, never having a belt taken from you in the ring. You spent years at the pinnacle of your sport by fighting some of the very best to ever compete, while they were in their prime, and you beat them all. You tasted defeat early and spat it back out, refusing to drink from the cup again for nine years, six months and 4 days. Millions upon millions the world over have endeared themselves to you. You lit up the faces of children all across Russia when you carried the Olympic torch. You raised the pulses of everyone who laid eyes on you in the ring, rather they be an opponent or spectator. You are the G OAT and no one has a bad word to say when asked,

“What do you think of Fedor Emelianenko?”

 

 

Humble, fearless, focused, loving, spiritual, respectful, the GREATEST, these are the words associated with the Fedor Emelianenko. Fedor has always been a quiet, calm man who never pined for the big life. He had no interest in moving to America or Japan or England, Fedor just wanted to be with his friends and family and he wanted to support them. Fedor wanted to push himself to be better at all things and he found in martial arts what he did best. From Sambo to MMA, “the Last Emperor” rose from just another Russian citizen to the most revered man in the world of combat sports. His fan base spans the globe. Fedor has talent, drive, focus, and toughness but most importantly he had mystique. He was so quiet and humble you could never figure out what was he was thinking. If you got one of the rare opportunities to ask him, his answers were either too cryptic or perhaps just too simple and honest for you to discern any real information. Fedor wasn’t going to bad mouth his opponent to try to get inside the other man’s head to gain some advantage. Or did he do it another way? Was his quiet, reserved demeanor and almost inhuman calmness just a clever ruse to make people uneasy? No one can know but Fedor. We know it wasn’t the look of him that did it.

The undersized, Russian heavyweight was short, balding, and pudgy, not exactly wielding the average fighter’s physique. It didn’t stop him from quickly reaching stardom when he began to fight in Japan. Fedor was to be tested there; gone was the level of competition in RINGS, now he would be fighting in Pride. At the time Pride was the biggest name in the sport and as such had many of the best fighters in the world fighting in their events. Fedor would never lose a single match in Pride, defeating fellow legends of the sport like Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Kazuyuki Fujita, Gary Goodridge, Kevin Randleman, Mirko “Cro Cop”, and Mark Coleman all in their primes. He didn’t always win with flash or superior skills. In fact some victories just seemed to be a battle of wills. Nothing epitomized this more than Emelianenko’s fights with Nogueira. He would take a beating if he had to but you could not break his will. Someone’s will had to break and you could be certain it would not be his. In his time in Japan he reigned as the heavyweight king of the world for three and a half years. It wasn’t just what Fedor did that made him the greatest, it was how he did it.

He wasn’t bigger and stronger than everyone. He wasn’t the greatest tactician to ever strap on 4 oz. gloves. He wasn’t the most prolific wrestler the world had ever seen. He wasn’t even the most technical striker to step into the ring. He was, however, as tough as they come. Fedor Emelianenko had a heart the size of Russia and a chin chiseled from quartz mined in the Ural Mountains, fists harder that could drive a coffin nail, and a will that would not be broken. Fedor lost a fight early in his career, his 5th fight, on a technicality. He was cut and if you’re cut you lose. It was nearly a decade before Fedor tasted defeat again. When Fedor walked into the arena in San Jose, CA no one in the world expected Fedor to lose. When Fedor found himself trapped in the guard of Werdum it looked like so many of his previous wars, all of which he has won. Even when you saw the leg come up and over to secure the triangle choke you just knew he was going to step into it and pull out, like he did against Nogueira so many times but . . . he didn’t. When his hand tapped in submission for the first time in his professional life the world sat, stunned. Everyone watching went silent. This was a fluke and it would never happen again, right?

That “fluke” took place in June of 2010 and The Emperor didn’t fight again until February of 2011. His first fight coming off of a loss in over a decade was the main event in the quarterfinal round of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix. He was a 5 to 1 favorite and was all but scheduled to fight Alistair Overeem, a highly regarded Heavyweight and the Strikeforce Champion, or get a rematch with the only man to truly defeat him, Fabricio Werdum. Everything was set up beautifully for maximum drama. Once Fedor defeated Silva and moved into the next round the world would be guaranteed a bout of epic anticipation that would reverberate throughout the world rankings.

As usual on February 12th, 2011 the smaller, older Emelianenko stepped into the ring as a heavy favorite, this time over the giant Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva. Fedor’s face locked in the same expressionless, determined gaze. The bell sounds. The fighters begin to circle and exchange blows. Silva moves about smoothly, towering over Emelianenko but, undeterred, Fedor charges in with punches landing some heavy shots and eating a few for his trouble. They engage one another in a clinch against the cage, Silva pressing on Fedor trying to tire him out. They are reset to the center of the ring and it begins again. Fedor striking . . . the fight going from standing to the clinch and eventually to the ground . . . twenty seconds . . . a flurry from both men . . . a right, a left, a right. Swinging wildly and connecting repeatedly are both fighters. DING DING! A close round, much closer than anyone expected. Fedor’s trainers speak to him in Russian, Silva’s in Portuguese. The bell sounds again. Fedor moves forward toward the center of the cage, unloading a huge overhand right and is met by the powerful, lowered shoulder of Silva. The GOAT on his back and cannot shake the bigger man from his perch. He begins to eat punishing blow after blow to the head but he defends himself and continues to try escaping his predicament. Emelianenko rolls over in an attempt to sneak out the back and the humongous BJJ black belt has the Emperor right where he wants him, but he can’t submit him. Fedor’s will shall not be broken again. He survives the rear naked choke attempt and he is again under Silva taking punishment. Another rear escape attempt and Silva tries again to choke him out. For nearly 5 minutes straight Fedor is being smothered, squeezed, choked, and pounded on by a 280 pound man whom has every intention of finishing this fight without the judges’ input. All this punishment, yet he’s still there, still fighting . . . twenty-five seconds . . . Silva has Fedor in a knee bar, but Fedor still has the capacity to reverse into a leg lock attack of his own . . . 10 seconds . . . both men attacking the other’s leg. DING DING! As Fedor rises to his feet you can’t help but notice that his right eye is completely swollen shut from the abuse but his expression is the same. His will has not been broken and he is prepared to go into the third and final round to finish this fight.

The referee and doctors call a stop to the fight. A good decision as Fedor was completely blind in his right eye due to the immense swelling. The facial expression now changes. I know that look, that’s sadness. He knows what we’re all about to hear but all hope we aren’t. This may very well be the last time we ever see him in the cage. If we never see Fedor Emelianenko fight again, we can all be proud to say we’ve seen the greatest and that we’re just fine with that.

You, Fedor Emelianenko, were the greatest heavyweight of all time, without a doubt.  Millions would say the greatest to ever step in the ring. For a decade you captivated millions and reigned atop the sport as a valiant, humble, deserving champion. In the end you went out the way a warrior should, in a blaze of glory. You took more punishment than any man should ever be able to take in a fight and you took it from a man 50 pounds larger than you and smiled, ready to go in for more. You owe us nothing, and we all owe you the immense respect you have given every opponent that you have faced. You are the GOAT. You are Fedor Emelianenko.

 

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Some people party a little different than others. When I attend mixed gatherings things tend to be frat party like or overtly trite. When you throw in different groups of people in one setting people tend to group together and clique up.  The Latinos hang out with the Latinos, the Blacks with the Blacks, and the Whites with the Whites. No one forces them to do it, it just happens. If not by race then you will have the popular kids, rich kids, jocks, hippies, and non-affiliated people splitting up cliquing together in corners of the party. Even in this situation race still seems to determine, partially, the group’s make-up. The jocks tend to be more Black than anything else. The hippies are almost EXCLUSIVELY white. The rich kids are almost all white and few are actually rich. Popular kids is really an overview of all the groups except the non-affiliated, or the floaters. Some of the floaters may be popular but no one really calls them their best friend except other floaters, as they hang out with everyone and don’t really spend too much time with any one group. I think more than anything people just like to hang out with people they have things in common with and people they know and trust.

There are times, however, when that line of thinking can backfire in quite amusing ways…

Like waking in strange places…

…or not being awake for an awesome photoshoot (starts at 2:02 but the whole thing is pretty sweet if you were part of it)…

…getting body slammed onto the “couch” and having shoulder problems for life “I’m like THIS close to whoopin’ somebody’s ass!”…

…you may end up being the guy at the bar that other people pont and laugh at for dancing like a moron…

…or you dance with a box on your head…

…maybe you end up trying some dumb shit you saw on a TV show…

…and of course when you pass out around white people shit like this happens…

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…there is a lesson here to be learned but considering all these videos and pictures span from 2007 to present I apparently haven’t learned it.

As a child I took Karate and Taekwondo and loved professional wrestling. Around age 12 I found a VHS cassette in my grandparent’s living room. I slid the cassette into the VCR prepared to watch this new wrestling organization, unaware that it would eventual dictate my college major and projected career path. The video was entitled “UFC 1: The Beginning”. It became immediately apparent that this was anything but the WWF when the first bout ended after a 215 pound savate (french* kickboxing) fighter kicked a downed 400+ pound sumo wrestler in the face and followed it with upper cuts ending the fight in under 30 seconds. Intrigued, I watched as a 170 pound Brazilian won this tournament without throwing a single punch. I was hooked and had to see more. Since that summer day in 1997 I have watched 119 UFC pay-per-view events and countless events from other promotions watching as the sport has evolved from videos rented out of the “backroom” of niche video stores into nationally televised events taking place the world over.
*France is not a proper place, therefore it does not deserve the treatment of a proper noun, and is only capitalized here because it begins the sentence.
With its rapid ascension from the underground to the mainstream, MMA has sparked much debate over its viability as a legitimate sport. On one end of the spectrum you have those who view MMA as a barbaric blood sport akin to the coliseums of Rome. On the other end you have people who recognize it as an athletic, competitive sport that incorporates many of the values of any other recognized sport. I subscribe to the latter school of thought.
Arguing that MMA is too violent or dangerous to be an accepted sport in American society is hypocrisy at best. Arguably the most beloved sport in the US is American football, a dangerous, violent game. The obvious comparison sport would be the time honored, traditional combat sport, boxing. Even in comparison to boxing the argument is void as boxing is a far more dangerous sport. Only looking at the years since the inaugural UFC event, in 1993, and only in the United States there have been 19 boxing fatalities. One boxing fatality took place during a 2001 fight in New York, a state that still has yet to legalize MMA, based on it being too dangerous. In Boxing when a combatant is knocked down by a strike and dazed he is allotted 10 seconds to get up and regain his composure. The 10 count and standing 8 count directly contribute to massive head traumas for the fighters. In MMA bouts when a fighter is knocked down the fight is usually stopped immediately to prevent long term injuries. More over, with 15 three minute rounds in a boxing match the athletes trade tremendous amounts of blows to the head and body; whereas, in a five minute five round MMA bout there are less strikes due to the complex nature of the fight. With the usage of takedowns leading to extended periods of grappling fighters spend less time open to injury.
In addition to arguing against MMA as a dangerous undertaking, detractors claim it to be an ultra violent modern day version of the gladiators of the Roman Empire, a depiction brought onto the sport by its biggest organization. In its infancy the Ultimate Fighting Championship first was not much more than a sanctioned street fight. The competitors wore no gloves and the only rules were no shots to the groin, no biting, and no eye gouging. There are even rumors that the original owners contemplated surrounding the cage with an alligator filed moat. The videos I watched as a teenager had to be rented by my uncle cause they were kept with the pornography and one had to be 18 to rent them. The gladiatorial bloodsport image is one that many still hold of MMA, although it has evolved into a highly regulated, safe, competitive sport since the sell of the UFC. There is now a litany of rules and safety protocols. The fighters now undergo extensive anti-doping tests and post fight medical examinations. The progression of the sport was necessary to negate the arguments of brutality.
Since the restructuring of the organization and its subsequent gain of state athletic sanctions the UFC has lunged into the mainstream. Much of the success is directly related to the success of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF), the UFC’s cable television reality show/competition. The first season’s finale was a milestone moment not only for the UFC but for MMA as a whole in the US. The last fight was for a six figure 1 year contract to fight in the UFC and resulted in, arguably, one of the best fights in MMA history. The Forrest Griffin vs. Stephan Bonnar fight was such a tightly contested bout that although Griffin won both fighters were awarded a contract and it instantly brought the sport to people who had previously dismissed it as a fad. Now in its eleventh season, TUF has all but silenced most general attacks against the sport and its opponents have resorted to attacking the organizations and fighters themselves.
When the facts are examined ad compared to relative mainstream contact sports, it is hard to make a compelling argument against MMA based upon violence and/or danger to the athletes. Looking back at the rise of contact sports in America there are glaring similarities between MMA and football or boxing. All of these sports underwent a period of social rejection but ultimately have become staples of the American sports landscape. With the technology and knowledge today’s sports, from auto racing to football, are safer than ever. Strict regulations within MMA have been made in order to conform to the social standard and have, for the most part, helped not only the national viewpoint of the sport but the athletes involved as well. Having watched MMA evolve from the bare knuckle, style vs. style cage fights I watched in the 90s to the regulated, technical game that requires athletes to master multiple forms of martial arts and establish high levels of strength and conditioning, I must continue to argue for tits acceptance as an American sporting mainstay. Perhaps someday the majority will see the sport for what it is, a sport.

I’m thinking I should celebrate my freedom on that day. I suggest we all do just that. Christian, Athiest, Muslim, Jewish, Scientologist, black, white, Latino, Arab – AMERICAN! That’s the theme we need to remember on Saturday. We are all American. So lift your glasses and toast those lost in the attacks (I’m not interested in hearing your foil hat theories on who’s to blame) and remember them in your way. I’ll light a candle say a prayer and like a good catholic devour alcohol like I was at an Irish wake. Swimming pool, hot tub, hot women, and barbque should finish off the evening rather well.

This is by far the coolest post I’ve even encountered on Craigslist. It’s informative, entertaining and dude sounds like an awesome roommate. Almost makes me want move to Houston, TX, just to rent this room.

First of all the post title grabs the shit out of your attention…and from there it;s all gravy baby! I suggest you watch this clip of Aziz Ansari first. I kept picturing this energy and commitment in my head as I was forced to read it aloud and laugh throughout the post.

and here we go:

$500 HOLY CRAP! IS THAT A ROOM FOR RENT ON MY CRAIGSLIST??!?!?!? (north of River Oaks) (map)

You bet your nomadic ass it is. Do you want to be homeless? Then you better come check this room for rent out. It has WALLS and a CEILING. BLOCKS THE FUCKIN WIND AND RAIN FOOL!

ZOMG THE LOCATION IS THE SHIT. You can WALK to Washington Avenue from here. So you can get your drink on and do some mackin playa. 10 mins from UH and Rice cause we all about higher education up in here. You could hit Memorial Parkway with a ROCK. But don’t. We keep it civilized.

We got carpet up in this hoe too. They wanted to come put in hard wood floors. But I was like FUCK THAT. I don’t want my feet to be cold when I get out of bed at night. Carpet. So soft. Transcends the walking barefoot experience.

Man the room… You can put your bed and furniture UP IN HERE!!!! So you can sleep, chill, even EAT. You got a private bedroom! We ain’t bunk bedding out this motherfucker.

AWWW SHIT! YOUR OWN PRIVATE BATHROOM!!!! WTF!?!?!? YUH! You can shower and take a shit w/o anyone being up in your business!!! I’m not bullshittin either… I’m talking HOT WATER IN THE SHOWER.

We got ELECTRICITY. POWER ALL YOUR APPLIANCES. Play my XBox360 because I never do. No need for candles or firewood, because I got LIGHTS and HEAT.

-this pad has doors so people don’t come up in yo space son
-this place has windows so you can see outside and shit. WHATSUP NEIGHBORS!
-tennis courts, 2 pools, parking garage, a park in the back, brand new gym so you can get swoll. Sand volleyball court WHAT!

Pic related, its me. Your bad ass new roommate.

The Power 100 is released for 2010 and this year its ALL athletes!!!  No more suits on the list…just the real stars! No surprise here though that, regardless how many broads he bedded in the last few years that WEREN’T his wife, the folks over at BusinessWeek still love Tiger Woods as he tops the list of the most powerful, influential athletes the world over. Below is a quick rundown of who made the list, most of which you should know immediately (if you don’t you’re a dipshit) along with their reported earnings for ’09 and sport.

Yous should know everyone in the top 15 or 20, but they get a little less commonplace in the lower ranks for most people…

  1. Tiger Woods* $103mil, Golf
  2. LeBron James* $44mil,  Basketball
  3. Phil Mickelson $52mil, Golf
  4. Albert Pujols* $18mil, Baseball
  5. Peyton Manning  $27mil, American Football
  6. Dwayne Wade* $28mil, Basketball
  7. Michael Phelps $6mil, Swimming
  8. Adrian Peterson* $9.5mil, American Football
  9. Shaquille O’Neal $35mil, Basketball
  10. Lance Armstong* (earnings unavailable), Cycling
  11. Raphael Nadal* $ 31.5mil, Tennis
  12. Kobe Bryant* $33mil, Basketball
  13. Larry Fitzgerald* $11mil (Seriously, #13?), American Football
  14. Ryan Howard $16.5mil, Baseball
  15. Brett Farve $19mil, American Football
  16. Serena Williams* $11.5mil, Tennis
  17. Roger Federer* $32.8mil, Tennis
  18. Eli Manning $27.5mil, American Football
  19. Joe Mauer $13.5mil, Baseball
  20. Tim Duncan $25.7mil, Basketball
  21. Jimmie Johnson** $15.3mil, Auto Racing
  22. Kevin Garnett $26.4mil, Basketball
  23. Chris Johnson $4.5mil, American Football
  24. Randy Moss $7mil, American Football
  25. Drew Breese $17.5mil, American Football
  26. Kurt Warner $19.8mil, American Football
  27. Usain Bolt (earnings unavailable), Track & Field
  28. Jeff Gordon** $21.5mil, Auto Racing
  29. Dirk Nowitzki $26.3mil, Basketball
  30. Tom Brady $18mil, American Football
  31. Kevin Durant* $11.8mil, Basketball
  32. CC Sabathia $15.5mil, Baseball
  33. Derek Jeter* $30mil, Baseball
  34. Prince Fielder $9mil, Baseball
  35. David Beckham $23mil, Football
  36. Dwight Howard $27.1mil, Basketball
  37. Alexander Ovechkin $12mil, Hockey (or according to BusinessWeek “Sport: NBA/Washington Capitals—F”)
  38. Andre Johnson $8mil, American Football
  39. Sidney Crosby $13mil, Hockey
  40. Hines Ward $6.3mil, American Football (How can you not love this guy?)
  41. Mark Martin** $7.3mil, Auto Racing
  42. Venus Williams $8mil, Tennis
  43. Donovan McNabb $22.5mil, American Football
  44. Chris Paul* $14.5mil, Basketball
  45. Dale Earnhardt, Jr.** $26mil, Auto Racing
  46. Mark Teixeira $20.8mil, Baseball
  47. LaDanian Tomlinson* $9.2mil, American Football
  48. Tony Stewart $16.8mil, Auto Racing
  49. Chase Utley $11.8mil, Baseball
  50. Jim Furyk $15mil, Golf
  51. Shaun White (earnings unavailable), Snowboarding & Skateboarding
  52. David Wright $8.25mil,  Baseball
  53. Ilya Kovalchuk $8mil, Hockey
  54. Ben Roethlisberger* $10.3mil, American Football
  55. Steve Nash* $18.1mil, Basketball
  56. Lorena  Ochoa $1.7mil, Golf
  57. Evan Longoria $625k, Baseball
  58. Deron Williams* 14.3mil, Basketball
  59. Paul Pierce* $21.3mil, Basketball
  60. Carmello Anthony* $23.8mil, Basketball
  61. Alex  Rodriguez* $39mil, Baseball
  62. Johan Santana $20.9mil, Baseball
  63. Tim Lincecum $700k, Baseball
  64. Apolo Anto Ohno (earnings unavailable), Skater
  65. Stewart Cink* $4.6mil, Golfer
  66. Ray Allen* $20.5mil, Basketball
  67. Carl Edwards $10.6mil, Auto Racing
  68. Yao Ming $34.4mil, Basketball
  69. Troy Polamalu* $8.3mil, American Football
  70. Kyle Busch $10.2mil, Auto Racing
  71. Landon Donovan* $1.9mil, Football
  72. Manny Pacquiao* $39mil, Boxing
  73. Padraig Harrington $7.6mil, Golf
  74. Vince Carter* $21.3mil, Basketball
  75. Tony Romo $3.6mil, American Football
  76. Dustin Pedroia $2.5mil, Baseball
  77. Ichiro Suzuki $18.5mil, Baseball
  78. Ray Lewis $12mil, American Football
  79. Andy Roddick $12.3mil, Tennis
  80. Maria SAharapova $23.9mil, Tennis
  81. Sergio Garcia $23.2mil, Golf
  82. Fedor Emelianenko (earning unavailable), MMA (How can you not love THIS guy?)
  83. Derrick Rose $6.1mil, Basketball
  84. Vijay Singh $9.3mil, Golf
  85. Steven Jackson* $12mil, American Football
  86. Andy Murray $8.9mil, Tennis
  87. Allen Iverson $8mil, Basketball
  88. Danica Patrick $10.8mil, Auto Racing
  89. Brandon Roy* $4mil, Basketball
  90. Manny Ramirez $26.8mil, Baseball
  91. Floyd Mayweather, Jr. $30.3mil, Boxing
  92. Candace Parker $5mil, Basketball
  93. Shane Mosley $2.6mil, Boxing
  94. Diana Taurasi $1mil, Basketball
  95. Misty May-Treanor $650k, Volleyball
  96. Brock Lesnar (earnings unavailable), MMA
  97. Patrick Kane $1mil, Hockey
  98. Chad Ochocinco $5.75mil, American Football
  99. Matt Ryan* $8.4mil, American Football
  100. Ryan Sheckler (earnings unavailable), Skateboarding

Now if you’re wondering why some of these athletes have an asterisk (*) by their names, it’s because they are all sponsored by the same company, Nike. There are a total of 28 people, 6 in the top 10, on the list with major Nike contracts. If you’re math is so horrible you can’t figure it out on your own, it’s 28% of the 100 most influential athletes. the double asterisk (**) was marked because all 4 of those drivers race for the same team, Hendrick Motorsports.

How in the hell Larry Fitzgerald made it to number 13 is unknown to me, but there are a lot of people I don’t agree with on this list. The top 10 is pretty sound, and there is an obvious biased toward American athletes and sports, made painfully obvious by the fact there are only two footballers on the list (Donovan and Beckham). There should be more of them in my opinion..I’m guessing they left Theirry Henry off the list cause he’s french, and I’m fine with that. I am, however, curious why they left off Cristiano Ronaldo, Ronaldo de Assis Moreira (Ronaldhino to most), Wayne Rooney, etc. from the list. Also where are the people from motorsports outside the US, like Formula 1, e.g. Kimi Raikkonen, Michael Schumacher, Lewis Hamilton, Jensen Button, Sebastian Vettel, Filipe Masa,  Fernando Alonso, etc.?

I just read an awesome interview Fedor did recently with a Ukrainian site, http://www.pl.com.ua/.  If you clicked that link already you may have noticed one glaring issue I had with it…It isn’t written in English as God intended. I do not speak, nor read, Russian. Luckily, TMR from The UG does, and here is his translation (Warning – this is a long interview but worth the read…if you’re a man!):

In Russian there’s two expressions (the ones I use here are the closest translation I can come up with) that are commonly used one for “no holds barred” (literal translation is “fights without rules”) and one’s “mix fights” (mma equivalent). Most of the people use them as interchangeably, the first question is clarifying just that.

Q: “fights without rules” (nhb), is it really what the expression means – anything goes? Because in reality, there’s quite a few rules. What do you think – are they “soft” or “hard”?

A: In “mixfights” you are not allowed to hit below the belt, you cannot hit the back of the head or the spine. Any  action against the eyes is also forbidden, as well as biting etc. You also cannot hit the back. In reality – there’s quite a few rules. But more importantly are the referees; they are specialists in the ring that are ready to interfere at any moment.

Personally, I’m happy with all of that. The rules are a lot softer than in our sambo. In mixfighting you cannot head butt or hit the groin – which is allowed in combat sambo.

Q: There’s a saying amidst fighters – “the winner’s the first one to hit the chin”…

A: No, it’s not accurate. If the athlete is counting on that… well actually it’s possible, but it is not the right expression. The winner’s the first one to land on the chin yes, but you need to land it. And in order to accurately do that, you must know the strengths of the opponent. And his weaknesses.

Q: What are your weaknesses?

A: I do not talk about my weaknesses, I work on them.

Q: I can imagine how attentively your opponents study your weaknesses…

A: They probably do study them. I obviously do have weaknesses… but… No, I won’t tell them. (laugh).

Q: What about your strengths? Your key strengths?A: I try to improve in all directions, training in all aspects. As far as key strengths… I’ll give you an example:  Mirko Cro Cop. He was destroying everybody with his left foot. He hit with it in a way that people were being knocked out. When he started putting everything on that key strength, he lost.

I believe that a fighter has his favorite techniques, but he cannot focus on just that, instead he should always go forward. So that he can always be unpredictable during the fight. There are fighters that try to focus on their striking technique. There are fighters that try to do anything possible to get the fight to the ground – they all lack well roundedness; they all miss some part of the game.

Chuck Liddell, the ex-LHW champion of the UFC used to always focus more on his striking technique. He also wrestled of course, but always tried to stay away from the ground because he could lose. Randy Couture – lacks submissions and doesn’t have the best striking technique.

Q: Did you have any key fights, specific “enemies”? The kind that would make a new impact on your life? Say Cro Cop, who had knocked out your brother before fighting you (Aleksander Emelianenko also competes in mixfighting).

A: They’re not enemies, they are opponents. Opponents in a sport. I have never had enemies. As far as attacks leading up to a fight, I do not care about them.  It’s a typical custom, to create intrigue leading up to the fight. They are there to create intrigue for the audience. I do not pay attention to that.

Q: How do you feel about your opponents?

A: I respect them.

Q: Without exceptions?

A: Without exceptions.

Q: You are well known abroad, over here – only in the ex-soviet sports world. Outside of these borders you aren’t really a star. Why? Heavyweight boxers for example are quite the characters.A: Our sport is still very young; it has yet to pick up the power that it has abroad. Over there the championships have been going on for a couple of decades. Over here we have a few amateur sports. Combat sambo, hand to hand combat. But as far as professionally – the guys aren’t competing. I know a lot of fans that have been watching the fights in the UFC, “mixed fighting”, they were loving it but… there were no organizers, no organizations and no support. Personally I don’t know how it is over there, but over here if you want to show a good fight on TV, you need money. And not only money, but very serious money. Viewers around the world are interested, but the management of the Russian channels isn’t.

Q: You’ve been living in Stary Oskol ever since your childhood. Typically though, world class fighters try to move say to Germany, or the USA – where they train better and the payouts are bigger…

A: The training isn’t better in neither Germany nor the USA. And the payout does not play a role – the payment is predetermined and where I train does not influence it in any way.

Q: Then why do they leave?

A: <silence>… Because they forget where they are from, and what their flags are.

Q: You clearly do not forget what flags are yours. What are your thoughts on the Ukraine?

A: I always remember that I was born in the Ukraine. My grandmother, my grandfather, my relatives are there. I was born in the USSR, at that point in time the country was not separated. Today we live in different countries, but to me that makes no difference. I consider myself Russian first and foremost. All my childhood and youth I spent in Stary Oskol, I visited my grandparents during the summer. I do not separate the countries, I’m not a politician, it doesn’t matter to me.

Q: But you often wear a t-shirt with the two-headed eagle…

A: Of course, I am a representative of my country. I am proud to be Russian.

Q: What do you think of the “Russian” combat arts? It’s quite popular now to practice “Slavic styles” of combat, or say the “spetznaz combat art”.

A: I think that the only true Russian fighting style (martial art) is sambo. What people call now days “Russian styles” I honestly do not take seriously. I haven’t seen a single strong school with a solid technique; they most commonly look like amateurs. In fact not “most commonly”, it’s actually what they are – amateurs.
Why would you try to come up with something Russian, when you can actually practice something Russian? Another example would be religion, why try to demonstrate Orthodoxy, when you can simply live by the Orthodox way?

Q: When you go out to fight to [Enae Volare Mezzo – video below], you ceremoniously take off your cross and go forth to beat your adversary – sometimes it looks like that epic display has been thought through.

A: I have never had anybody telling me how I should look. And I do not have any people telling me how to look. Stylists or … I don’t even know what they’re called.

Q: Image-makers?

A: Yes, image-makers. I just try to live by my faith, and that’s it.

Q: What about the idea of being in a movie (action movie – the 5th execution), was that yours as well?

A: No, honestly speaking, no. My friends asked me, they were doing shows about our mix fights (about nhb). And Vadik, my manager, asked me.

They wrote up a screenplay, called in the actors and offered me one of the main roles. I was stubborn and didn’t want to do it. But at the same time – it’s very interesting and I wanted to try. I’ve never been in a movie before; I’ve never seen what it’s like. The result is… (Laugh) there is no result yet. The result will be in April. I will probably hide during that period, hide somewhere and not leave my house.

But to be fair, it didn’t look too bad at all. I was very interested in seeing, especially when everything is put together, with the sounds and everything. It all turns out completely different than what you go through. When shooting, you see everything, imagine and think – how can any of this work? Once everything is put together – it seems alright, I think.

Q: Why did you leave the official Russian sport for M-1?

A: I used to compete in Sambo and Judo, and there were issues with the judging. When I was fed up and the lack of objectivity annoyed me too much, I left for mixed martial arts.

Plus in the amateur sports, in Stary Oskol, I had no income. There was no way to support my family. It was obviously a hard choice – I was already on the official Russian teams of Judo and Sambo, and to just leave it all out of nowhere to a new sport and start from scratch… Thank god it all worked out.

Q: Is the judging better?

A: It’s not the same as in the amateur sports. Everything is professional, there’s an audience that watch and control. There are obviously some issues, but nowhere near as bad. There are different examples, but if you have a submission, no matter what, when the opponent yells “I give up!” – there will be no judging. If a person has a KO, they have to raise the winner’s hand. How can you judge a fighter when his opponent is out?..

In the amateur sports we have some very serious problems. In “mixfights” there are fans that are carefully watching over the process, they can’t be fooled. They have their favorites [fighters], by which they stand, and the fairer the judging, the more interesting the fights are for the fans. There’s more respect and the popularity rises.

Q: Still though, among the uneducated fans there are always rumors, that everything is organized. That the promoter told a fighter to “lie down” in round x – and that he does it.

A: In all of my life’s experience I have not encountered that. Not once.
How can there really be a setup, when the majority of our fights end early? Probably ~70% of the fights end that way. You can’t fake a knockout. Well, you obviously could if you tried really hard, but the audience is watching every movement, and then they discuss everything and critique. They cannot be fooled.
And think about it on your own – my payday relies solely on my wins. If I was to “lie down”, I would drop in the rankings and my next fight’s purse would be a lot smaller.

Besides, our sport is still only developing: for it to be interesting we must be unbiased. Of course, I want our guys to win – Russians, Ukrainians, Belarusians, sure. But if a fighter comes from France, for example, and he hits well – then he will win. It’s very fair/honest.

Q: Why is the situation so sad in the official sport?

A: Because the people standing behind our sport are not fans of it, instead they are people with their own personal interests. They would rather have their boy go forward, than to have a stronger guy from another town, it’s always better for them to have one of their own judges than to have an independent one. Better to do an easier draw [as in draw in a tournament bracket] for their guy, so that he gets to the finals in good shape, and to throw the serious competition into the other side, so that they can fight between each other, tire each other out and get there exhausted.
They put their own personal interests over those of the country… of the sport… Do you understand?

Q: Why aren’t they leaving that and not transitioning over to “mixfights”?

A: Because, just like it was for me, it’s very difficult. In my situation I had absolutely no choice: in all of the Russian championships I was always third-third-third… In our sport the first place always goes to the “world” competitions, the second – to “Europe’s”. I was always third. I was tired and was asking them if they had a conscience at all, I’m fighting, and the entire room’s yelling at the judge – “what are you watching?”… I couldn’t get through, so I left. But it was very hard. Leaving everything I live for, everything I had accomplished. It maybe wasn’t that much, but the Russian team – was a good result. I was on both the Russian Judo and the Russian Sambo team. I consider that a good result for an athlete.
I had to leave all of that and start from scratch.

Q: Do you stay in touch with the official Russian sport?

A: They are now offering me some important positions, other things… I decline. I do not see the possibility in working on that, as I am competing myself. I try to talk with people that are really cheering for their work, for their sport. With them – I talk, what’s next, what should I do. If I’m asked by the other people, not the ones who do not care about the sport, and if they need a Flag of “Fedor Emelianenko” so that they can wave it and use it to plug the holes, the ones that are trying to change something and raise the status of our sport. If they ask – I will gladly go.

How can anyone dislike this guy? He is such a cool mutha….