LOS ANGELES â€“ Fedor Emelianenko may hail from a small town in Russia that most Americans couldn't find with a map and a magnifying glass, but that doesn't mean they don't have Xbox in Stary Oskol.
They do. And, as it turns out, one of them is located in Emelianenko's house, or so he told MMA Fighting via an interpreter after showing off his video game skills at Universal City Walk on Tuesday afternoon.
"I play a little bit," said Emelianenko, who described the feeling of seeing himself pummeling people in video game form as "fun."
This information might have been useful to former UFC champion Randy Couture, who took on Emelianenko in a head-to-head match-up of the new EA Sports MMA video game that hit stores today. It was a spirited battle, but in the end the Russian, playing as himself, handed Couture a brutal TKO loss.
"At least it was a good back and forth," a grinning Couture told MMA Fighting after the brief demo.
The 47-year-old Couture admitted he's never been much of a video game player, and certainly doesn't have the time to pick it up now. In fact, the issue of how he plans to spend his time in the future is the question of the day. There's talk that he may decide to pursue his acting career more seriously, maybe even leaving MMA for good to do it, and it's talk that Couture isn't shying away from.
While he said he's open to another UFC bout "if the right fight came along," Couture admitted that the prospect of making a living in front of the camera â€“ where the punches are fake and the paychecks tend to involve less bloodshed â€“ is an increasingly attractive proposition.
"I know at some point I will have to make a decision. [The UFC] will throw a fight at me and I'll have a movie deal in the works, and I'll have to decide which one I want to do," he said. "Honestly, if I had to make that decision right now, I would do the movie."
The irony of Couture's video game showdown with Emelianenko is that it was at least partially a desire to make that dream match-up happen that led to Couture leaving the UFC in 2007, which then opened the door for him to participate in the EA Sports game.
Now, three years later, Couture is edging towards retirement and the fight still hasn't materialized. It's looking more and more like Tuesday's virtual fight is the closest we might ever come to seeing the two men in the same cage.
"It is what it is," Couture shrugged. "I came to terms with it a long time ago."
So too has Fedor.
"If it's not meant to be for us to fight in real life, then it's not meant to be," he remarked. "That's all."
Instead, Emelianenko said he's focusing on finishing his current contract with Strikeforce, which has one fight remaining. He hopes he'll get that fight in late January, but doesn't seem particularly concerned about who will be in the cage with him.
"I have no preference who I want to fight," he said. "I will fight anybody. ...Whenever Strikeforce is ready to give me a fight, I'm ready to fight."
And once that final Strikeforce fight is in the books?
"We'll see," he smirked.
By Ben Fowlkes