When results came back with a positive steroid test for Josh Barnett, Fedor Emelianenko needed a new opponent on ten days notice. Multiple fighters threw their hat in the ring for a shot at the worldās number one heavyweight.
In the end, instead of using a replacement for Barnett, Affliction decided to cancel the entire āTrilogyā event, taking fans and Fedor himself by surprise. A statement released Saturday on M-1 Globalās website reads,
Early Friday afternoon, M-1 Global learned without warning or prior notice that Affliction had decided to cancel āTrilogy.ā
As a partner of Affliction, M-1 Global was saddened to learn of these developments. The cancellation took our company completely by surprise, as Fedor Emelianenko, M-1 Challenge fighter Mikahil Zayats, and a traveling party of 35 people from Russia consisting of Fedorās trainers, friends, family, as well as M-1 support personnel were all on a plane en route to Anaheim.
Additionally, Fedor did not learn of the cancellation until arriving at the airport and informed directly by M-1 legal counsel.
There had been some question that maybe Fedor or his management did not want to accept a fight against Vitor Belfort who was seen as the forerunner to take Barnettās place.
However, according to the statement, Fedor was ready to fight anyone Affliction would have chosen to replace Barnett.
Fedor was ready, willing, and able to compete against whomever Affliction determined was the most qualified candidate amongst an extensive list of potential replacements.
According to Belfortās trainer, Shawn Tompkins, Vitor vs. Fedor seemed to be a done deal. Guess not.