Finkelchstein: Fedor Would Fight Overeem Without Pre-Fight Testing
M-1 Global President Vadim Finkelchstein is clearing the air concerning comments he allegedly made about Alistair Overeem and performance-enhancing drugs after the Strikeforce heavyweight championâs longtime trainer, Bas Boon, recently posted an unflattering account of the Russian promoter and manager on a Netherlands-based MMA Web site forum.
Boonâs post describes Finkelchstein and other M-1 executives as âscam artistsâ connected to organized crime, questions their managerial ability and gives an unverified account of M-1âs Apy Echteld threatening a Seattle co-promoterâs life.
Boon, a longtime combat sports figure in Holland and head of the Golden Glory fight team of which Overeem hails from, claimed authorship for the post when contacted by Sherdog.com on Tuesday.
âEverything I wrote is true,â Boon told Sherdog.com via e-mail.
Finkelchstein categorized all of Boonâs claims as false and likened them to tall tales.
âThis seems like the plot of a particularly hokey childrenâs detective novel. âŚ Someone taking part in hiring a killer in Russia is something youâd perhaps find in a Nancy Drew novel,â said Finkelchstein through the translation of Evgeni Kogan, M-1 Globalâs director of operations. âIt seems like the behavior of small children who have some kind of an argument and start threatening each other with all nightmarish things.â
Finkelchtein added that the âhitmanâ accusations first surfaced seven years ago and that no action, legal or otherwise, had ever been taken regarding it.
Finkelchstein told Sherdog.com on Tuesday that Boonâs campaign against him and his company has been ongoing for years. Finkelchstein said that Boonâs motivation has been recently fueled by his interest in securing a fight for Overeem with Fedor Emelianenko, whom M-1 manages.
âI was very surprised by those comments and the only explanation that I have is that itâs now spring, and it is not clear how spring sometimes affects insane people,â said Finkelchstein, âbut this obviously has somehow affected Bas in a way to push him to, essentially out of nowhere, decide that he needs to preoccupy himself (this way).â
Finkelchstein, who has promoted numerous events worldwide under the M-1 banner, said he was most concerned about Boonâs statements that the Russian businessman and his organization had a connection with organized crime.
âThat particular accusation concerned me, more than perhaps some of the others, specifically because itâs so blatantly untrue,â said Finkelchstein, who said heâd started working full-time at the age of 14 in Russia. âAll of the money which I have earned, Iâve earned through work.â
Finkelchstein pointed to the attendance of former Russian President and current Prime Minister Vladimir Putin at one of his previous M-1 events, as well as members of the Russian government at a recent âSelectionâ event in Moscow.
âMy continuing good relationship with the Russian government is tribute to the fact Iâm a respected businessman and have absolutely no ties with crime, whatsoever,â he said.
Still, Finkelchstein was apologetic for comments heâd reportedly made about Overeem, some of which allegedly labeled the fighter a âsteroid bullyâ and claimed that Emelianenko would not fight the Dutch fighter without appropriate pre-fight testing for performance-enhancing drugs. Without addressing any alleged comment specifically, Finkelchstein told Sherdog.com that he had made certain remarks about the fighter off the record that were not meant for print.
âAbout three or four months ago, I spoke to a journalist who I had a friendship with, whoâd call me every day and continuously called me to ask about Fedor fighting Overeem,â said Finkelchstein. âWhen the conversation happened, it was off the record. I asked why if Overeem was such a great fighter, why didnât he fight in the states? He hadnât fought in the states in two years.â
Finkelchstein said he was regretful that the comments had been published without his knowledge or permission.
âI would expressly like to apologize to Alistair for the fact that those comments came out,â said Finkelchstein. âIf I knew I was on the record in the public view, I would have never have said anything negative about a fighter. I have no ill will towards Alistair and I know him personally. This was something totally blown out of proportion by the journalist.â
Contrary to recent online reports, Finkelchstein also said that both Emelianenko and his team would not turn down a fight with Overeem if the bout were held in a jurisdiction, stateside or international, where performance-enhancing drug testing is not practiced.
âTesting for performance-enhancing drugs is, as far as Iâm concerned, the responsibility of whatever athletic commission in whatever state the fight is going to happen in,â said Finkelchstein. âI donât think thatâs my business at all. I will be perfectly happy with whatever the commission does in regards to that.â
Finkelchstein said M-1 Global would pay close attention to Overeemâs first title defense against Brett Rogers at Strikeforce âHeavy Artilleryâ on May 15 in St. Louis. Mo.
âBoth myself and Fedor are completely neutral when it comes to a fight with Alistair,â he said. âWe see him just as we see any other opponent. In terms of practicability, the whole camp is eagerly awaiting the fight between Alistair Overeem and Brett Rogers. Based on the outcome on that, the heavyweight division in Strikeforce will become a lot more clearer and future opponents for Fedor will surface.â