Aleksander Emelianenko

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As a follow up to yesterday’s post about Aleksander Emelianenko, we take a look of Sherdog’s second installment to the Aleksander interview. There is a ton of great stuff in it, as Aleks talks about everything from Muhammad Ali and Kimbo Slice to hunting bears.

Here’s a few excerpts, but be sure to check out the whole interview on

On Muhammed Ali

I’d like to talk to Muhammad Ali. If not for him, I don’t know where the world of boxing would be today.

I think that everything that boxing has achieved to date, it’s because of the great fighters like Forman, Frazier and those even earlier, Robinson. There are many boxers, but very few greats that changed everything.

How Russians view sports figures

And the reaction was — in most cases here, when someone achieves something in sport, it’s “You won. Great.” They shake your hand, they congratulate you and on the next day they forget about it.

To this day it’s the same. Sportspeople have nothing. Many of the people who won gold at the last Summer Olympics, when [then] President Vladimir Putin gave the order that gold medal winners would get ,000 each, many are still waiting. They haven’t received this acknowledgement of their success.

As an American, that’s difficult to grasp.

What goes on inside the ring

And it’s not even a fight. I think that when you walk out into the ring, the fighters, I think, they don’t even get a beating from each other. It’s more like a game of chess in the ring. Who can outplay who, find their weak points. Who will outlast who, who trained better. Who can better trick who.

It’s not like they took someone off the street and just put him in the ring with me, you know, and I’m standing there, beating him like I want. No. I have to watch everything. Have to think about everything. I have to make instantaneous decisions. I have to judge the situation all the time. It’s chess in the ring.

If only the general public understood that. Hopefully in time, they will.

Kimbo Slice

In reality, as a fighter, as a fighter he’s weak. For me anyway. My promoter [Vadim Finkelshtein] suggested this fight to his promoters, that I go there and fight Kimbo. And they’re not taking the fight. They realize that for me he’s too weak.

I won’t be fighting with him, playing with him. I’ll go there and tear him apart, bite him in two. Exactly like it was with me and [James] Thompson, whom it took almost three rounds for Kimbo to put away. No. He’s to be congratulated on one hand, though. …

What does he need? For people to know about him. For people to have seen him. Everyone earns money anyway they can these days. He’s not a fighter, he’s not a sportsman. I’d say he’s more like a showman. I can say this about him.

As a sportsman he’s very one-dimensional. Hands? Is that all? These days everyone can use their hands. When fighters at a decent level compete, you won’t understand who he was before. A boxer or a wrestler. … I train with boxers. I used to beat — I now beat world champions. I box with them. I’m not a fighter that fought with fatties, with who knows who on some field or something. That’s not a display of his prowess as a fighter. It’s just a show. They are elements of a show.

I would like to see this fight.

His deal with Affliction

I signed a three-fight contract and will have a fight on the 19th of July. I’ll go to fight in the U.S. And now I am preparing. Really hard. I’m ready. I’ll show them a beautiful fight.


I also wanted to fight in the UFC [along with brother Fedor Emelianenko (Pictures)]. But as a Russian fighter, I’m not interesting to them. They are interested in their own, in Americans. That’s why they didn’t let me compete in their organization. They were saying that “We don’t want Aleksander to fight for us.” Because I’d arrive there, beat everyone and then take the belt back to Russia. They don’t need that.

I’m just going to take a shot in the dark here and say that the UFC probably didn’t want to feature a fighter with a giant image of the grim reaper holding a baby on his back, along with his other wild tattoos. I’m not sure how well it would go over in the general public to have someone who looks like he just stepped out of Eastern Promises. If Affliction does well though, we may just find out.

Ring vs Cage

It doesn’t matter for me in the least whether the fights are in a ring or a cage. I’ve fought in one and in the other. It doesn’t matter. The thing that limits my movement be it ring ropes or a cage, it doesn’t matter. You could even put down a cork mat, like in sambo or judo, draw some red lines on it and that’d be fine also. It doesn’t make any difference whatsoever. I’ll still win.

I have a feeling Aleks would fight in a pit surrounded by spikes if he had to.

Hunting Bears

Saved the best for last. Remember the movie, The Edge? The one where Anthony Hopkins and Alec Baldwin are hunted by a killer grizzly bear after getting stranded in the wilderness, and Hopkins character eventually kills the bear with a spear? We, apparently, the Russians do it for fun.

Yes, they do. A few years ago there was an unfortunate incident. One sportsman, a world champion in wrestling … what was he doing? Yes, he was putting a fork under the bear’s neck. [The practice of hunting bears with a knife involves, once the bear is in front of you, placing a long stick with a letter U-shaped end under the bear’s muzzle as it rears up to fight. Once the stick is in place, the bear isn’t able to bring its body down and the hunter stabs it a number of times, ideally killing it instantly.]

And then the bear couldn’t attack him, and he was stabbing it under the ribs in the heart. And as he was stabbing it, that bear swung with its paw. It was dead already — the paw was its last gasp with all its strength and basically took half of the wrestler’s head off. And of course the other hunters opened fire on the bear, but it was too late. He went to try his luck with a bear, and it didn’t come off.

For me everything is still fine. I’m OK. I’ve done it and it was OK. About half a year ago, it was in Russia, in Siberia. Everything was fine. I put the fork underneath him and stabbed him in the heart. And that was it. The other hunters dismembered, prepared the bear.

I want to go hunting in Africa now, with friends. I’ve been invited.

That’s serious stuff. Maybe now, he can go kill a rhinoceros with a stick.

Aleksander Emelianenko will be hunting ‘The Headhunter’ Paul Buentello this Saturday night, July 19, at Affliction “Banned.”