ProMMAnow.com had the unique privilege of getting to speak to Vadim Finkelstein this week. If you are unfamiliar with Mr. Finkelstein, he is the manager of the man many consider to be the best mixed martial arts fighter of all time, Fedor Emelianenko.
Mr. Finkelstein recently witnessed one of the rarest occurrences known to man, second only to a day in which someone mistakes Snookie for a classy lady or UFC President Dana White doesn’t drop any F-bombs… he saw Fedor lose.
Mr. Finkelstein talked to us about what it was like for him to be there when Fedor lost, what he thinks went wrong and what they have tried to do to make sure it doesn’t happen again.
We have all heard about the difficulty the UFC and Fedor’s management had in reaching an agreement and Mr. Finkelstein gives us his point of view of why a successful deal was never reached. We also discussed Fedor’s brother Alex and if he feels Fedor will finish out his career with Strikeforce.
PRO MMA NOW: Thank you for taking time to speak with us Vadim at ProMMAnow.com. Scott Coker had said that Fedor wanted to come back and fight as soon as possible after the fight with Werdum. As a manager, why did you feel it was important for Fedor to come back and fight as soon as possible?
VADIM FINKELSTEIN: Any high-level fighter should fight once every 4-5months. If there is a longer break he is losing his qualifications. It’s been enough time since Fedor’s last fight and Scott Coker is right saying that we expect to see Fedor on the ring as soon as possible. Now Fedor is mentally and physically ready to fight. He can’t wait to fight!
PRO MMA NOW: You are very close to Fedor and you have seen him undefeated for so long. In your opinion why do you think Fedor had the mental lapse that allowed him to be submitted by Werdum? Do you think his mind was preoccupied with something else at the moment?
VADIM FINKELSTEIN: I was shocked, I never expected Fedor to lose. But that was just a mistake. He didn’t have a mental lapse. He was well-prepared for the fight against Werdum and he made a mistake because he wanted to end the fight quickly. As his manager, I want to see a rematch and so do the fans. And we are all sure that Fedor has quite a good chance to win.
PRO MMA NOW: As Fedor’s manager, what were your thoughts when you saw Fedor’s loss, how did you deal with it, and what have you tried to do to make sure it does not happen again?
VADIM FINKELSTEIN: As I have said before, it was a shock for me. I couldn’t believe my eyes. But I’m not the coach. Me and my partner, Apy Echteld, have organized trainings with the Muay Thai coach (Thai boxing) Peter Teijsse. In general, I did everything Fedor asked me to do as a manager. But I don’t think he needs something else; his loss wasn’t a lapse or anything like that. He’s in good shape and he will show what he can do!
PRO MMA NOW: Why was there so much difficulty in working with the UFC – why were you not able to arrive at a deal with the UFC?
VADIM FINKELSTEIN: The UFC is trying to be an MMA monopoly. They feel that their opinion is the only one that counts and that other promotions just don’t exist. Back when talks between the UFC and M-1 were taking place, had they really wanted Fedor, they could have had him. I guess they just didn’t want him that much.
PRO MMA NOW: What is the situation with Fedor’s brother Alex; what is your relationship with him like and is there any chance he could fight for Strikeforce?
VADIM FINKELSTEIN: I haven’t been Alex’s manager for quite a long time now and I really have no idea what he is doing. Regarding Alex fighting in Strikeforce – I think that is a question best posed to his manager.
PRO MMA NOW: Do you think Fedor will end his career fighting with Strikeforce and how much longer do you think Fedor will keep fighting?
VADIM FINKELSTEIN: Right now M-1 GLOBAL, Strikeforce and Showtime have the agreement on 3-4 fights. I hope our co-operation will endure. As Fedor says himself, he will fight for as long as God will let him and for as long as God will give him health. But he has plans on fighting and winning!