This isn't the first time we have seen Fedor Emelianenko's management team M-1 Global and particularly the company CEO Vadim Finkelstein shoot off some ridiculous statements and remarks.
Just in case people are wondering what I'm talking about, M-1 Global is putting pressure on Strikeforce to enforce strict drug testing for the athletes participating in the Strikeforce heavyweight Grand Prix.
Obviously, wanting to make sure the athletes aren't using performance enhancing drugs is of utmost importance. M-1 Global's demand for strict testing helps elevate the sport and is what is required to further legitimize the sport in the mainstream. Considering two competitors in the tournament, Antonio Silva and Josh Barnett, have failed drug tests in the past, it only makes sense that they be tested again.
Importance of drug testing aside, the fashion in which M-1 Global's Finkelstein explains the demands for stricter drug testing seems completely backwards. Finkelstein had the following to say in an M-1 Global press conference in Russia last week:
"Our organization paid a heavy price after the cancellation of the fight between Josh Barnett and Fedor. We did a lot of promotion for this fight, which in the end did not take place. That's why as a promoter and manager, I don't want this to happen ever again."
Was something lost in translation here?
Let's break this down a little bit. Finkelstein was discussing the reasons why he is pushing for quality drug testing throughout the Strikeforce heavyweight Grand Prix. One of the main reasons was the financial impact Josh Barnett's positive drug test had on M-1 Global as a promotion. Barnett's positive drug test led to the cancellation of the bout between he and Emelianenko, Affliction went out of business as a promoter and it seems that, according to Finkelstein, M-1 Global took a hit.
Is Finkelstein serious? On the one hand he is saying that Josh Barnett testing positive for banned substances hurt M-1 Global badly, and then on the other hand he is saying M-1 Global wants stricter drug testing to prevent situations like the Barnett fight?
Not so sure what Finkelstein is thinking here, but if you feel that a positive drug test of a fighter in the past was damaging to your company in the past, how is enforcing stricter testing policies going to help that? If one of the fighters scheduled to fight tests positive, but under the stricter rules, is that supposed to be a better situation than what happened with Barnett?
If M-1 Global felt that Barnett testing positive really was so bad for M-1 Global, it's highly doubtful that they would request stricter testing. If anything, it would seem that M-1 Global should want less testing to avoid having any fights called off.
There is obviously another motive as to why M-1 Global wants the stricter drug testing, but Finkelstein is trying to beat around the bush. Finkelstein believes there are fighters in the Grand Prix that are on performance enhancing drugs and he doesn't want them to beat his prized asset without getting caught.
As said before, in all fairness to Finkelstein, Barnett had tested positive on three occasions and Antonio Silva on one.
That being said, Finkelstein made a pretty bold remark about current Strikeforce heavyweight champion Alistair Overeem.
"He [Alistair Overeem] has nothing to offer for Fedor Emelianenko, except being a steroid bully." These are the words Finkelstein had about Overeem during an interview with lowkick.com.
Realizing the gravity of his comments, Finkelstein quickly retracted the comments and apologised to Overeem.
Even though Finkelstein apologised to Alistair, it's quite possible that deep down he still believes Alistair is on some kind of performance enhancing drug.
Since Finkelstein now realizes the gravity of calling someone out on steroid accusations, instead of directly accusing fighters in the tournament for taking drugs, he claims he wants the strict testing in order to prevent situations like what happened with Josh Barnett, Affliction and M-1 Global.
The only problem for Finkestein is that his argument makes no sense.
The bottom line is Finkelstein's client Fedor Emelianenko lost his last fight and they don't want to take a chance that he loses to a guy who takes performance enhancing drugs.
From a different perspective, it makes perfect sense why M-1 Global is asking for stricter drug testing. Fedor is their only bankable fighter right now and a second loss in a row would put a thorn in M-1 Global's side.
Scott Coker has stated that proper testing will be used in every state. The Strikeforece CEO went so far as to say that if they hold an event in Japan a place known for its non-existent testing procedures, the company will run the drug tests themselves.
Nobody can really argue that what Finkelstein wants for the tournament is bad for the sport, nobody wants to see athletes winning because of a competitive edge that was gained through unnatural means.
That being said, if one of the fighters on Fedor Emelianenko's side tests positive, is M-1 Global really going to make the claim that it's a great thing for these drug tests, it really helped avoid a situation like what happened with Josh Barnett and Affliction? This is really hard to believe and it seems as if Finkelstein is once again beating around the bush and not coming out and saying what he really thinks.
By Leon Horne