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M-1’s Evgeni Kogan: ‘Working With Zuffa Was Actually Really Good’

When Fedor Emelianenko met Dan Henderson a couple weeks back, most of the focus was on the fight. What didn’t get a lot of attention was the fact that it was the first time Zuffa employees worked alongside M-1 Global employees as part of the Strikeforce-M-1 Global co-promotion. Most would probably guess it was uncomfortable and awkward at best given their rocky relationship in the past, but in an interview with Full Contact Fighter, M-1’s Evgeni Kogan says it was actually “a pleasure” to work with Zuffa’s middle management.

“Working with Zuffa was actually really good,” said Kogan. “Zuffa’s middle management is really great to work with. They’re corporate, professional, straight forward, easy; we were all pleasantly surprised…if they’re listening to this, it was a pleasure working with them.”

When it comes to Dana White though, Kogan cautions fans not to believe everything they hear. He says there are always parts of the story that no one is willing to share publicly that would otherwise “change the picture significantly.”

“I don’t really know why he says a lot of the stuff he says,” said Kogan about White, who in a recent interview with Sports Illustrated drew some comparisons between the hype that surrounded former TUF competitor Kimbo Slice and that of Fedor. “I don’t really want to offer my opinion on that other than to say that the general point of this is the promotion, it makes for drama, it makes people say ‘ooh’; that’s interesting. I’ll buy the next pay-per-view’ or whatever…that’s par for the course in promoting.”

“There is so much stuff that’s go on behind the scenes, that people don’t know about, that we won’t talk about, which for us, I look at his interviews and it just makes me laugh, it’s just funny,” said Kogan about White, who has been quoted referring to Finkelstein as ‘Vadummy’. “It’s laughable that those things are said….all the stuff that happens behind the scenes, it changes the picture very significantly.”

Maybe its just my skeptical nature, but I would guess that’s at least partially true in the majority of the major stories we hear about in MMA and beyond for that matter. People are always going to frame a story or narrative in a way that paints them in the most favorable light. That’s just the nature of the beast. In Dana White’s case, that’s his job as a promoter and he’s pretty damn good at it.

Moving on, Kogan did touch a little on Fedor’s next fight, saying that Fedor should fight someone who is “considered at the top of the sport.” Kogan didn’t offer any names, but Vadim Finkelchtein was quoted in an interview today that named Kevin Randleman as a potential opponent. Before you flip out, M-1 quickly claimed that the interview was fabricated. Who they might actually have in mind isn’t much better though. ESPN’s Josh Gross is hearing M-1 is looking at Mike Whitehead and Travis Wiuff as potential opponents. *Sigh*

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