Fedor Emelianenko has broken his silence on Josh Barnett’s failed steroid test that has left him without an opponent for his headlining bout at Affliction “Trilogy.” Before taking off for the US, M-1 Global held a press conference in Russia to address the situation. Fedor noted that he’s “disappointed,” but will fight whoever Affliction puts in front of him. Fedor’s manager Vadim Finkelstein did most of the talking and revealed they want to fight the best possible opponent whom they feel is Brett Rogers, and realize the majority of fans don’t want see Fedor fight Belfort. Here’s a few quotes.
Fedor on the situation:
“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.”
Fedor on the last-minute opponent change:
“No, the main routine is over now. From now on it all about accuracy, precision and execution. There was no specific manner to prepare for the planned bout with Josh Barnett. It’s all the same: standup and ground game… Undoubtedly, it’s better to know the name of your opponent long before the fight though.”
Vadim Finkelstein on Belfort and Rogers:
“By the end of the evening we expect to officially announce who’ll be the replacement for Barnett. Vitor Belfort agreed to come in principle…We personally entertain the idea of having Brett Rogers step in since he knocked Andrei Arlovski out. 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…Everyone in the world now wants to see the fight of Fedor, not Barnett. 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.”
Well, if nothing else, it sounds like M-1 and Fedor are paying attention to what the fans want and are committed to giving us that, Fedor fighting the best possible opponents in the world. It’s just disappointing that won’t necessarily happen on August 1.