There are some things in MMA that just will not die.

Although, since one of the very few things that MMA fans can agree upon is that most would like to see M-1 Global part-owner and represented fighter Fedor Emelianenko finish his career in the UFC against their talented heavyweights, the news that M-1 Global CEO Vadim Finkelstein "would like to cooperate with the UFC" is something that deserves to be on life-support.

Despite the dissonant set of stipulations that both sides insist upon, which has twice resulted in failed negotiations, the sparks that could ignite the grand entrance of "The Last Emperor" in the octagon continue to fly.  When asked about this possibility in an interview with FiveKnuckles, Finkelstein once again dangles the carrot that the M-1 organization may pursue a relationship with the UFC once Fedor's contract in Strikeforce is up.

 

It depends on UFC. We would like to cooperate with them. Everything depends on them, their diplomacy. It would be possible if they are flexible.

 This is far from a statement of commitment or an indication that anything will be different should the polarizing parties find themselves across the table from one another again, but it wasn't too long ago that Dana White issued a surprising statement out of nowhere pertaining to the chances of an Emelianko signing.

It's not that I don't want to talk to M-1.  I want to get this [expletive] done.  I want him, and I want Fedor.  I want to do it.  And I never say never.  They can call me right now, and we can start talking and figure this thing out.

 Any ragged enthusiasm that could have mustered up after hearing Dana's comments back in January was immediately muffled when M-1's Jerry Millen extinguished the rumor later that same day.

Below is the entire interview with Vadim Finkelstein of M-1 Global from FiveKnuckles, which is an interesting read as it details some history about Vadim, his past business ventures, and how he got started with M-1 Global and secured Fedor Emelianenko.

 

FiveKnuckles.com: How did you become involved in MMA? Were you ever a fighter yourself?

Vadim Finkelstein: I've never been a fighter myself. I've done this before a little, but not professionally. I just came to event once, and I loved it. So I decided to bring them to Russia.

FiveKnuckles.com: What are some of your interests outside of MMA?

Vadim Finkelstein: I love active recreation, driving the quadrocycle and snowmobile. I also like to cook, although I don't do it that often, but I like to cook for my friends.

FiveKnuckles.com: How did you come to meet Fedor Emelianenko?

Vadim Finkelstein: I called him in 2003, we set up a meeting. I made him an offer to co-operate, he agreed, and since that time we started to work together.

FiveKnuckles.com: When you first met Fedor, did you know he would become the great champion he is today? If not, when did you know that he would reach such fantastic heights in the sport of MMA?

Vadim Finkelstein: When I first met him he was already rather famous. Of course I could not foresee everything but I saw how talented he was, that would have a great future in sport.

FiveKnuckles.com: Many American fans are getting their first look at Fedor Emelianenko from his last fight against Brett Rogers, and there are many questions about his personal attitude and nature. What is Fedor like on a personal level from your perspective?

Vadim Finkelstein: Fedor is a man with iron willpower. He has very strong heart. Well-mannered, a committed Christian. Fedor has its own principles he never abandons. He doesn't let himself relax, never gives in. I think that this is his strongest trait of character. If he has to train, he never puts it off till tomorrow. He never let neither anybody, nor himself give up. It concerns not only training, but another things as well. Very strong.  

FiveKnuckles.com: M-1 Global Executive Jerry Millen recently told the media that he would allow Fedor to fight Brock Lesnar, or any other UFC fighter for free if they came out to Stary Oskol to Fedor's gym. Dana White responded by saying he would like to take Brock Lesnar or another of his fighters to Stary Oskol and agreed to put the fight on against Fedor for free. What is your response to Dana White accepting M1's challenge? Does Jerry Millen speak for M-1 when he makes statements like this?

Vadim Finkelstein: It was a good joke of Jerry that was blown up too much in web. The joke succeeded.

FiveKnuckles.com: It has been said that Fedor has signed a 3-fight deal with Strikeforce and has two fights remaining with the next one coming against Fabricio Werdum this summer. After this deal has elapsed, would it be possible to see Fedor in the UFC?

Vadim Finkelstein: It depends on UFC. We would like to cooperate with them. Everything depends on them, their diplomacy. It would be possible if they are flexible.

FiveKnuckles.com: You tried cooperating with them this summer, but after negotiating with Dana White extensively to no avail, he said many bad things about you and M-1. What are your thoughts on Dana White personally?

Vadim Finkelstein: That's his character, he just loves to call names. He didn't say bad things about M-1 only, there were a lot of situations where he was harsh. It makes me glad when Dana White talks about us. I respect the UFC, they've done a lot for the development of MMA, so I can pardon them such attacks. We respect him and let him grumble.

FiveKnuckles.com: Many American fans are fascinated with Fedor, and this fascination has also spilled over onto his brothers: Can you tell us why his brother Aleksander Emelianenko has been denied a license to compete in the U.S. Does he, in fact, have hepatitis? Will he ever fight again?

Vadim Finkelstein: I am not informed about his proceedings. Aleks is hasn't been with us for our organization for a year, and I don't work with him now.

FiveKnuckles.com: Fedor is said to have another brother that also competes in MMA. Is this true? If so, can you tell us about him?

Vadim Finkelstein: Yes, there is third brother, Ivan Emelianenko. He lives and trains with in our club, Red Devil. He trains there, but he has no MMA fights on his record yet. He constantly participates in sambo tournaments, and wins the championships.

FiveKnuckles.com: What are you goals and ambitions for M-1? Do you want to create a big promotion that rivals the UFC? Or do you plan to focus more on international events?

Vadim Finkelstein: I don't want to compete with UFC, I want to co-operate with them. I think it could be a winning solution for everybody - for us, for them, and for MMA fans. We made the requirements and rules of the selection process tougher this year for M-1 selection tournaments. 160 fighters will participate this year, we divided them into 4 territories: America, Asia, Eastern and Western Europe, 4 tournaments for 5 weight divisions - grand prix system. The very best will move on. The next stage is M-1 Challenge where fighters can get to after selection tournaments, that's the next stage. After that - Breakthrough. The fighters that had already made name for themselves would participate in this, and would have passed all the stages.

FiveKnuckles.com: Is it true that Fedor owns 20% of M-1?

Vadim Finkelstein: Fedor has a share in the company but I don't want to disclose the numbers. Fedor is one of shareholders of M-1 Global.

FiveKnuckles.com: You have done an excellent job of bringing quality fighters to the forefront of MMA with Fedor, Aleks, Gegard Mousasi and others, can you tell us who are some future stars that we may see coming out of M-1 next?

Vadim Finkelstein: I always look attentively after the fights and can name some future stars. There are a lot of talented fighters but I won't name them, because I don't want to offend anybody if forget some. You will see them all at M-1 Breakthrough tournaments this year.

FiveKnuckles.com: At one time, M-1 announced that they were planning a show called "Fighting Fedor," in which the winner of the a tournament would earn a chance to fight Fedor with the show being broadcast in a reality show format. What is the status of this show? Has it been cancelled, or is it something that you are still considering?

Vadim Finkelstein: We tried to find TV partner for this show, but haven't found it yet, it's a big show. But we would still like to do it.

For more information on M-1 and all of the companies' MMA projects, head over to M-1Global.com.

*Special thanks to Natalya Bulanova for the excellent translation.

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