Fedor interview (1-11-07)
Original Poster: opariser1001
Forum: Mixed Martial Arts Forums
Posted On: 12-01-2007, 04:17
Orginal Post: opariser1001: Translated by a guy from Sherdog:
Radio Interviewer: Hello! All right, I am done my preamble.
Fedor Emelianenko: Hello, good evening.
RI: Good evening. Fedor, you have a great tradition. Like that famous movie character that every December 31st went to the sauna with his friends (reference to the Soviet movie “Irony of Fortune” – CF), you have a tradition: for the third time, on the night of December 31st, you walk onto the tatami of the famous Saytama Arena in Tokyo to defend your championship title in no holds barred fighting against the best of the best athletes in Pride. So, it happened, you’ve won. Tell us about it.
FE: I faced a famous fighter, Mark Hunt, the K-1 champion and won during the 9th minute of the match via tapout.
RI: So it was practically over in one round?
FE: Yes, it was just one round. I could have won much earlier, during the second minute, but it didn’t quite work out, that is, I went a little easy on him, and..
RI: What do you mean? You “went easy on him”?
FE: (laughs) Well, no, it’s not like I literally took pity on him..
RI: Does that even happen in no holds barred fights?
FE: Well, it happens sometimes that when your opponent is just bearing the pain, you can step over and finish the submission by breaking the joints, but I just held back a little thinking that he’ll tap out. Meanwhile, he did not tap and escaped.
RI: So, while you were thinking of his well-being, he was escaping the submission?
FE: Yes. Well, the second time I didn’t hold back anymore.
RI (laughs): Even though you are so nonchalant about it, in general no holds barred fighting is not a sport for the weak and squeamish. It’s for people who are prepared both mentally and physically. This fight was difficult for you simply because on December 11 you broke your toe during training. An injury like that does not heal fast, even on a person as big and strong as you. Did it bother you during this championship match, and if so, how did you deal with it?
FE: No, the injury did not bother me. One thing that bothered me was that I got injured three weeks before the fight and could not stand on that leg, could not run, could not spar, could not grapple, so all I had left was just standing in front of a punching bag and hitting it over and over.
RI: So, punches only?
FE: Yes, just punches. I should have been under workload, but in general I was prepared well. I wasn’t 100%, but I was close. The injury affected my preparation, of course, but I did not feel it during the fight. I did not really use the toe during the fight, so it did not get injured any more that it was, and it did not bother me.
RI: Did you keep the injury a secret? For example, professional boxers as a rule conceal their injuries. If they are about to fight, they don’t talk about their injuries to prevent their opponents from using the injury against them. You probably conceal your injury as well, right?
FE: No, I generally do not conceal my injuries. If I decided to fight, then I’ve already considered it. Many fighters, many athletes make public announcements after the competition, saying: “You see, I was injured, so..”
RI: Perhaps they are making excuses for their defeat.
FE: Yes, I think so. I announced my injury, but I still decided to fight, so that’s that.
RI: We have question from one of our listeners. Hello, Vitaliy.
Vitaliy: Hello, Irina, Hello, Fedor. My name is Vitaliy Krasni-Beli. Thank you for organizing this meeting. Fedor, you are a great fighter.
FE: Thank you. Thank you, very much.
Vitaliy: I respect you, well, from the bottom of my heart.
FE: Thank you.
Vitaliy: I want to ask four questions. What’s your height and fighting weight, that’s one, how long do you plan to compete, and my third question is what percentage of your training is conditioning versus technique, and my fourth question is whether you ever experienced any self-doubt in the ring, because you create this impression of this self-confident machine, like this self-confident Russian machine is just like moving and leaving no chances for foreign competitors. Thank you.
FE: Thank you very much for your questions. I am 182 cm tall, and I weigh 103kg right now, I was a little heavier before, I used to be 106 kg, but now I compete at 103.
RI: How long are you planning to compete?
FE: Well, it depends on my health.. I plan to compete as long as possible.
RI: We should probably knock wood at this point, and maybe spit over the left shoulder, there can be injuries, and opponents who have a completely opposite point of view.. What’s the proportion of conditioning to technique in your training?
FE: It depends on the stage of training. If I am between fights, then.. Well, I don’t separate my training into conditioning and technique. I constantly wok on both, I just increase or decrease the workload. I am always working with partners, so I always have to grapple and counter the physical strength of my opponents, and use technique as well.
RI: Nikolay Valuev (heavyweight boxing champion ?CF), or rather, his coaching team was complaining a lot that it’s extremely hard to find partners for him to spar with. They said that after several deep knockouts and knockdowns, the athletes just crawl out of the ring, saying “Never again”. Do you have trouble finding sparring partners?
FE: Actually I became a champion of the World by training with two welterweights who were only at the CMS level, Candidates for the Master of Sports degree in Judo (the lowest ranking for professional athletes in Russia. The next level is Master of Sports, followed by International Master of Sports and Honorary Master of Sports. – CF) I think it depends much more on your intellect, on whether you can outthink your opponent, and your preparation. Of course sparring practice plays an important part. For example, I couldn’t prepare for the fight with Mirko Crocop with these two guys, but I did prepare for the fight with Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira with them when I took his belt for the first time.
RI: That was in 2003, right?
FE: Yes. I prepared for the fights against Sammy Schilt and Heath Herring with them. Later, when I had to prepare for Mirko Crocop I traveled to Holland specifically to develop kicking technique, and studied Muay Thai.
RI: So, despite the fact that you are the champion of the world, you nevertheless have to constantly study?
FE: yes, I have to improve all the time. The more you well-rounded you are as a fighter, the more difficult it is for your opponent to predict and anticipate your actions.
RI: As far as self-confidence or self-doubt go, do you ever, even sub-consciously, think “I can’t do it”, “I am weaker”? Or is it always full steam ahead, there is no turning back..
FE: (laughs) With marching songs…
RI: Right, beating drums and such..
FE: No, there is no self doubt, but any athlete has some nerves before the competition. How correctly the athlete will handle the fight depends on him and his team – it depends on how much they are able to help him. I try to avoid thinking about the fights, and just live my normal life. When I enter the fight, it’s really already too late to think about anything.
RI: We have a question from Sergey. Hello, Sergey.
FE: Hello, Sergey.
Sergey: Hello, Fedor. I am so glad to be able to talk to you. I am studying Combat Sambo under Valeriy Valentinovich Vlasov (Sergey goes on for a while about his club, its affiliations and how it fits in the Sambo Federation). The guys are now asking me via ICQ to invite you to our gym to do a seminar. So, we are inviting you. And I also have a question for you: when are you going to compete in Combat Sambo again, which competitions, etc. When are you going to fight Mirko? When are you going to fight in UFC? And why is Alexander not performing that well recently?
FE: Hmm. Well, I need your address, then..
Sergey: I can leave it here, maybe the call screener can take it down.
FE: Yes, sure, the thing is that I just have a catastrophic shortage of time. I have to keep going to these.. Even when I am not competing myself, I have to schlep all over either to accompany our guys as an honorary guest whenever they compete, or just when people invite me, abroad and in Russia. You know what, if I have time, we?ll organize a visit and I?ll definitely come see you guys.
RI: The next question is about the reasons for Aleksander?s defeats..
FE: Just one second ? next time I?ll compete will be , most likely, in February, in the Russian Championship (Fedor is talking about the Combat Sambo championship ? CF), but we still have to finalize that. Most likely, I?ll compete under 100 kg, since Aleksander will compete as a heavyweight.
As far as Aleksander?s training goes, well, we haven?t been training together for a long time, because he is a little, I don?t know, star struck by himself. Basically, he decided to do his own thing, and we decided to let him go on his own and see what comes of it. He lost two out of his last three fights.
As far as fighting Mirko goes, he just moved to UFC. He won the Gran Prix and immediately moved to UFC. I don?t know yet whether I?ll compete in UFC myself, it?s all up to my manager. My contract with Pride is expiring, and the decision of where I will fight next depends on the compensation ? so it all depends on my manager. Pride wants to keep us, and ..
RI: Of course.
FE: and we have some preliminary agreements in place.
RI: Pride is one of the most prestigious MMA organizations, anyway.
FE: At this point, Pride is the most prestigious MMA organization in the world, and there is really nothing comparable out there. UFC is second, but it is significantly lagging behind, I think, based on their roster, the number of viewers, and the size of the stadiums they fill.
RI: We have Fedor Emelianenko in our studio, the champion of the World according to the most prestigious, as he so precisely stated (laughs), MMA organization in the world.
FE: (Laughs) It?s not just me, it?s surveys, Internet..
RI: Of course, I am joking. The most prestigious organization in no holds barred fighting, or MMA, Pride. Or next caller is Margarita. Hello.
FE: Hello, Margarita.
Margarita: Hello? Hello, Fedor.
Margarita: We are sitting here with Michael Zayats!
Fedor starts laughing
Margarita: and listening to you. He said that you are going to Seoul, if I am not mistaken.
Margarita: So. I have written to you before.
Fedor: Yes, yes. (You can hear that Fedor is smiling ? CF)
Margarita: I was really looking forward to speaking with you, and I wanted to ask you: I really want to compete and to join your team, and I don?t know where to start and how to do it.
Fedor: Hmm. (pause) Well, I did write back to you. (Laughs)
Margarita (laughs): yes, you did.
Fedor: Well, say hello to Michael for me.. Tell him to keep training.
Margarita: Oh, he is training, he is training! We are all training him here.
Fedor: Well, I don?t know. We should meet and see, train together a little bit. Of course you?ll have to talk to Vadim (Vadim Finkelstein, Fedor?s manager ? CF). I never worked with women, or with girls, so.. we?ll need to meet and try training together.
Margarita (speaks fast): Great! Are you going to let me know somehow when you are going to be free? Maybe via Michael? I just, you know, have so many ambitions and emotions, and I don?t want to just burn out and not achieve anything and just be left with nothing, you know.
Fedor: Well, I think first of all you need to coordinate this with Vadim, our manager, through Michael. Hmm. Well, it?s really no problem ? we?ll train together some, and ..
RI: She can try out.
Fedor: Right, she can try out.
Margarita: Thank you so much! Goodbye.
Fedor: Good bye, thank you.
Here’s a different Fedor interview from Jan. 8, 2007:
Q: In your opinion, who are the best fighters in the world under 96 kg, and in what order?
A: I think they are Shogun, Wanderlei Silva, and Chuck Liddell
Q: What did you think of the Silva/Crocop fight in 2006 GP?
A: Mirko was technically sound, but Wanderlei was unrecognizable; I think he gained extra weight and wasn?t doing what he should have.
Q: Is there a chance to see you in the UFC? Did they offer you a contract?
A: I don?t know what the chances are, this is really a question for Vadim Finkelstein (Fedor?s manager ? CF). At this point Pride is the best MMA organization in the world, so we compete in Pride. Although, we did receive offers from UFC.
Q: What do you think of the UFC champion, Tim Silvia? How high does he rank compared to the top ten heavyweights?
A: Frankly speaking, I never really thought about this. I haven?t seen many of Tim?s fights, so I can?t really say where exactly he is in the top ten. The fights that I saw weren?t bad.
Q: What do you think of ?Systema??
A: I don?t understand the question.
Q: Young undefeated UFC fighter Diego Sanchez trained with you. What do you think of him and of George St. Pierre?
A: We never trained together, but I saw his fights. I think he is a good, promising fighter.
Q: If Nogueira and Crocop had a rematch today, who would have a higher chance of winning?
A: Everything depends on how they implement their game plans. If Mirko keeps it standing, Nogueira will suffer. At the same time, if Nogueira forces his game on Mirko and brings the fight to the ground, Mirko will have less of a chance to win, since he is weaker on the ground.
Q: If you found yourself in a submission hold that you thought you couldn?t get out of, would you tap out?
A: I?ve never been in such a situation, so I really don?t know what I would do.
Q: Were you rocked by Mark Hunt?s punch to the back of your head in your last fight?
A: It didn?t rock me, but it was unpleasant.
Q: Do you think that Mirko can do better in a rematch against you? Do you think there is a reason to do a rematch? Did he get better? Does he have anything that can be a threat to you?
A: I think that Mirko can do better if he fixes his mistakes, but I will also try to come up with some threats for him.
Q: Have you signed a contract with Pride?
A: At this point the negotiations are ongoing. We have a preliminary agreement between us in place.
Q: Is there a chance for a fight in Russia, and when?
A: It?s planned for April by M-1 together with Bodog.
Q: How serious is your toe injury?
A: At this point everything is fine; I am not even limping anymore. It was unfortunate that I broke the toe before the fight, so we had to cancel the sparring sessions and running. The only thing I could do was working with punching bags.
Q: When is your next fight?
A: It?s in Spring, in St. Petersburg. I might also participate in the Russian Combat Sambo Championship in February in Ulan-Ude.
Q: Do you know of any young fighters who can be a challenge for you in a fight? Kirill Sidelnikov, perhaps?
A: I think he is too young. However, Kirill is learning very fast; he is a promising fighter. I really hope that he can fill my shoes some day.
Q: Does living in Russia satisfy your personal ambitions?
A: Yes, completely.
Q: Do you know Putin personally? Someone should tell that judoka whose ?kung-fu? is better.. You might want to do a better PR ? maybe more people in our country will start learning the sport.
A: No, I do not know Putin personally. We have not met in person yet. I?ll think about better PR.
Q: You have beaten all real contenders in Pride. Who?s next?
A: I don?t know who?s going to be next in Pride, we have not discussed it yet. It might be Nogueira, again, or Josh Barnett.
Q: Was Hunt?s submission attempt a real threat? We were all thinking that was it!
A: There really was absolutely no threat.
Q: When you fought Mirko, starting with the second round we could see in his eyes that he was lost. It felt like he realized that he cannot beat you. You beat him at this own game. Was it a revenge for your little brother? Your attack was quite ferocious.
A: No, it wasn?t because of my brother. It was our tactic and a desire to fight.
Q: We arranged with Igor (Fedor?s website admin ? CF) for you to be on air live on Sport 93.2 FM. Will you have some time for Q&A?
A: Yes, it?s scheduled for January 11, and I?ll try to be there.
Q: Are you going to build your house in Oskol or are you moving to Moscow suburbs?
A: I?ll build it in Oskol. Frankly speaking, I don?t want to move anywhere.
Q: During the fight with Crocop, Pride showed your spouse in the audience. She must have nerves of steel to be able to watch you fight. How does she do it? Is she completely confident in your ability to win?
A: Well, you should really ask her?
Q: You are participating in the Bodog promotion in March. Is this a single fight with you remaining in Pride, or is it a real possibility that you?ll join BodogFIGHT?
A: No, we do not have a long-term contract yet, but it?s really a question for Vadim (Fedor?s manager).
Q: We haven?t heard much from your brother Aleksander. Are we going so see him in MMA, and if so, when?
A: He will continue to fight in MMA. His next fight will be in April.
Q: They call you the Russian Fighting Machine. You are ready for any fight under any circumstances.
A: So far that?s how it is, both in MMA and in life.
Q: What does one need to do to become such a ?machine? in our country? It?s more genetic than acquired…
A: No, it?s all acquired. I wouldn?t say that I am so naturally gifted athletically.
Q: Do you think that you were lucky to become who you are now in our country, in our conditions?
A: There was some degree of luck, of course, but I mostly achieved it through hard work.
Q: What was your hardest fight, when you had to overcome yourself?
A: Fights are probably not the hardest thing. It?s the training ? sometimes it?s extremely hard.
I never had to ?overcome myself?. My hardest fights were probably with Nogueira and Crocop.
Q: Fedor, Happy Holidays! Could you share your analysis of the fight with Mark Hunt?
A: Thank you. Everything was generally under my control. It?s hard to zero in on one specific point, but I knew that I will catch him in a submission. Although, I could fight him standing as well.
Q: What do you think about the Monster division (120 kg and over)?
A: I think it will be interesting to see large fighters.
Q: Gran Prix is held every four years for each weight category. What?s the sense in holding it for unpopular weight brackets, if some stars in middle and heavyweight brackets might not be there long enough for the next Gran Prix?
A: The management has more insight into this. They know what they are doing.
Q: What do they say behind the scenes in Pride about Mirko Filipovic? Is he coming back to Pride?
A: As far as I know, he went to the UFC.
Q: Did you have to deal with hazing in the army, that is, did you have to fight with senior soldiers, and how did your service go in general?
A: The army made a real man out of me. I never had to fight with senior soldiers, but I had to assert my rights several times.
Q: Are you planning to train in Holland again?
A: Yes, I am planning to train in Holland again, focusing on kicking technique. I have many friends there. I can?t tell exactly when I am going to go yet.
Q: Fedor, were you hurt by that terrible throw by Randleman? I trained sambo myself, and I felt like my soul was knocked out of me after such slams.
A: It really wasn?t anything. There was no damage to my body at all.
Q: Is the ring surface similar to tatami?
A: No, it?s harder.
Q: How often do you have to search for extra strength when it seems like there is nothing left? All of your opponents gas before you do. Does that mean that you train more, or that you do more endurance training?
A: I think it?s the result of training in general, as well as endurance training. We go to the fighting camps in the mountains before the fights specifically for that reason.
Q: Did Aleksander listen to the useful advice of his brother? Are you training together?
A: No, we are not training together.
Q: Do you think that Crocop went to UFC because he could never defeat you? Or was it the money? Probably the former..
A: I really don?t want to say anything negative about him. Of course any contract includes financial considerations.
Q: You said that Hunt?s submission attempt was not a real threat. Did he have a chance to complete it? I thought that he was not doing it quite right. Is that the case? Or is it that Sambo practitioners have more flexible joints?
A: No, he really wasn?t doing it correctly. But even if he were doing it right, I don?t think it would have worked. No one has ever been able to submit me with that move, even in training.
Q: What do you think about American rules modifications: 5 minute rounds, no knee strikes to grounded opponents? Is that an advantage or a disadvantage for you?
A: The new rules really do not matter for me.
Q: Is it hard to fight athletes who are taller than you, who have more muscle mass and weight? If you imagine a hypothetical fight with a fighter who has not trained but is extremely strong, for example, a strongman competition winner, would he be able to overpower you?
A: You can beat them. I don?t think such a fighter will be of any threat to me.
Q: Fedor, be careful, don?t take such risks. Yoshida tried to fight standing, and you saw how that ended. What do you think was his mistake? And why were the refs so inhumane to just drag a fighter in deep knockout to the ring and continue the fight?
A: Yoshida?s problem is that he does not develop his striking technique. His grappling base alone is no longer enough to win. I did not see the fight, but so far the refs have behaved correctly.
Q: Fedor, I have a very practical question. You often say that your strength training is limited to pushups, pull-ups and crunches. How many push-ups and pull-ups can you do?
A: I never do push ups to the limit. I do one or two sets, and I do at least 20 pull-ups as fast as I can.
Q: Do you think Aikido has a chance in PRIDE?
A: Aikido, I think, has no chance in Pride.
Q: Have you though of coming to the Black sea to train? We have all the right conditions: the sea, the mountains..
A: It would be great to go to the sea for a vacation, but not to train.
Q: How long are you going to be in Moscow? Is it business or pleasure?
A: I?ll be in Moscow for a couple of days on personal business.
Q: Have you completed filming in Valeria?s music video?
A: No, not yet.
Q: Do you know our boxers Kostya Dzu, Oleg Moskaev, Valuev?
A: I know Valuev. I haven?t met Kostya and Oleg, but it would be nice to meet them and talk sometime.
Q: Does the Ministry of Sport help you in any way?
A: No, they don?t.
Q: Will Roman Zentsov fight in Pride?
A: He will fight in Bodog; there is nothing set up in Pride right now.
Q: What techniques are you training right now?
A: We are training everything.
Q: What do you think of the common wisdom that an athlete needs to rest one day of every week, one week of every month, and one month of every year? Do you have enough time to rest to recover?
A: No, I don?t have enough recovery time. I?d like to rest more.
Q: Who in your team is responsible for planning the high-altitude training? Have there been any mistakes (in the camp planning)? Do you use your previous plans and experience of other athletes (specifically, athletes in the endurance sports ? cross-country skiers, etc)?
A: My coaches, Voronov and Michkov, plan the camps. We had no mistakes so far. We maintain contact with some track and field guys, and the coaches use their experience.
Q: In your opinion, how many times a year can an athlete of your caliber be in top shape and have serious fights?
A: If one rests and trains well, one can do 3-4 fights a year. It?s possible to do up to six fights, but then one will be burned out psychologically.
Q: I?ll repeat the question about Francisco Filho. He is a karate master and a star of K-1, who has knocked out our Ruslan Karaev in December. He is also in negotiations with Pride. He trains with the Brazilian Top Team. Does he have a chance to succeed in Pride, or is it too hard to learn ground grappling later in life, and a karateka would have little chance in Pride?
A: I think you can learn to grapple later in life, and the chances will be relatively good.
Q: Do you ever allow yourself any alcohol? Beer, maybe?
A: I do, but not beer. ))) (! A SMILIE!)
Q: Why do think Russian athletes do not want to make MMA their future? Do you have any plans for your involvement with MMA after you retire?
A: I haven?t thought about my future (after retirement). Russian athletes do not want to make MMA their future because so far MMA really has not developed in our country.
Q: Is it harder to train and fight now than in the beginning of your career? Now that you have accomplished everything, does that soft comfortable couch look more appealing?
A: Yes, you start thinking about future rest. You start to want a real vacation.
Q: Have you ever thought in the beginning of your fighting career that your future will turn out this way, or rather, that you will turn it and kimura it this way and achieve everything you have?
A: No, I didn?t. Although, when I started fighting, I realized that it?s my calling and that I will be able to succeed.
Q: Jean Claude van Damme?s offer was very intriguing. Have you thought of studying acting? Frankly speaking, I would really like to see you in a good action movie.
A: Right now I don?t have time to study acting yet.
Q: Knowing your popularity in Japan, Korea, and, hopefully soon, in the United States, I?d like to know if you?re open to collaboration with Russian companies to advance their brand in those countries. Have you talked to ALROSA (diamond business)?
A: No, so far we have not received any offers, but we are open to collaboration.
Q: Where did your colleagues Roman Zentsov and Amar Suloev go?
A: Amar lost a fight and has not fought in Pride since. He had to deal with some problems with this son?s health.. Roman also had some time off, but now he is planning to fight in April. Very recently he won two fights in Konti.
Q: In Korea, you mentioned a video game where you will play the coach. Are we going to see a game with Fedor the Fighter, or Fedor saving the world, for example? Promise to think about it!
A: Ok, we?ll think about it. The game should be out by now, but you?ll only be able to play it online.
Q: Who would you like your children to be?
A: I never thought about it. I just want them to be happy.
Q: How widespread is the problem of steroid use in MMA? What?s your opinion of Kevin Randleman? Does he eat well? : ) Did his diet help him in his famous throw? Or was it his technique, or luck?
A: There is mandatory steroid testing before and after each match. As far as Kevin?s throw goes ? it was probably his technique.
Q: Do you think you are a naturally gifted fighter, or were you able to develop your talent?
A: I think I developed my talent, but mainly I am able to see problems in my game and the game of my opponents.
Q: Do you think that hard work leads to success in all fields and all situations?
A: Yes, I think so.
Q: What are your thoughts on the fact that Pride, the best promotion in the world, often invites people who can?t even be called professional fighters?
A: This is a decision by management and the fighters themselves.
Q: I think that fighting in the ring and in the cage is different. Also, the strategy of the fight really changes depending on whether elbow strikes are permitted. As a fighter, are you interested in the UFC?
A: It?s more of a curiosity.
Q: I think that you move faster than any other heavyweights. Were you fast as a child? Were you a fast runner?
A: I wasn?t a fast runner as a kid, and I didn?t move that fast either.
Q: Do you ever quarrel with your wife Oksana?
Q: Do you watch TV?
A: I do.
Q: Is there a fighter, or fighters, who you would like to fight in the ring?
A: I?ve never really thought about it.
Q: I thought that after the fight with Hunt you have several things to work on. Do you already have solutions to these problems? Also, when you faced off with Hunt in the center of the ring before the fight, it seemed that we no longer have the usual energy. I am very worried.
A: Most likely it was just tiredness. I need to rest more.
Q: You fought many fighters in Pride. When were you in your best shape?
A: I try to be in my best shape for every match, and I can do it every time.
Q: One more question about the Hunt fight. When I watched the fight, I did not see Hunt tap out. Was he unable to do it? It seemed that the ref decided to stop the fight, but Hunt never tapped.
A: The ref did not stop the fight right away. Hunt?s joints were creaking, and he tapped out verbally. Once he did, the ref immediately stopped the fight.