Fedor Emelianenko along with his manager and M-1 Global owner and president Vadim Finkelchtein held a press conference with the Russian media on Thursday to address recent developments regarding the WAMMA Heavyweight Champion’s Aug. 1 fight at “Affliction: Trilogy.”
Fedor was originally scheduled to face Josh Barnett in the main event, however, with the fight only a week away, Barnett has been pulled from the card after testing positive for steroids.
Fedor spoke about his feelings regarding the incident, “I feel disappointed about this situation. But I will fight anyone who Affliction puts in front of me. I know a lot of fans waited for this fight to happen and I am sorry for them. I can’t do much about it now but I am in good shape, my training has been good and continues to go well.”
Finkelchtein is confident they will have a replacement for Barnett by the end of the day. “By the end of the evening we expect to officially announce who’ll be the replacement for Barnett,” said Finkelchtein. “Vitor Belfort agreed to come in principle.”
Although most reports coming out are naming Vitor Belfort as Barnett’s replacement. Finkelchtein along with Fedor actually prefer Brett Rogers as an opponent. “We personally entertain the idea of having Brett Rogers step in since he knocked Andrei Arlovski out,” Finkelchtein said. “But if there is any problem with Rogers, then it’s pretty safe to say it’s going to be Belfort. However, we are well aware of the fact that fans don’t consider Vitor Belfort to be a suitable replacement, according to a recent Sherdog poll.”
Finkelchtein said the fans would prefer Fedor fight Rogers over Belfort, “People want to see Fedor fight. Belfort can make heavyweight but the fans don’t want this fight. Fedor isn’t seeking an easy fight. If logistics weren’t an issue, we’d like to see Fedor fight against Brett Rogers. Fans want it (and) so do we.”
Fedor and his manager need to be careful what they wish for. The last time someone underestimated Brett Rogers they ended up unconscious in St. Louis.
Stay tuned to PRO MMA (promma.info) as this story continues to develop. Affliction is holding another media conference call today at 2:00 PM ET so we should know something then.
By: Jack Bratcher