Fedor Emelianenko file photo: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com
Fedor Emelianenko had some strong criticisms for the UFC during a Friday teleconference call touting his June 26 bout against Fabricio Werdum at the HP Pavilion in San Jose, Calif.
The 34-year-old Emelianenko was asked which upcoming heavyweight bout between UFC 116’s Brock Lesnar-Shane Carwin and his own fight against Werdum had more relevance. The stoic fighter predictably gave credence to his own affair. However, Emelianenko dropped an eye-opening remark while doing it.
“I think both fights are very important because you’ve got basically four world-class heavyweights in the top 10 of their sport, but I’m not a UFC fan,” said Emelianenko, who has two fights left with Strikeforce under a co-promotional agreement with M-1 Global. “So, I would invite all the fans to watch our fight that I believe is more important because we’re not in the UFC.”
When asked later why he didn’t approve of the world’s No. 1 promotion, the most sought-after fighter in the sport said it was a combination of how the UFC presented its events and how its fighters carried themselves.
"What I meant to say was I’m not a fan of watching their fights,” said Emelianenko through interpreter Steven Bash. “Compared to a lot of the commercials and the promotion and anticipation of their fights and compared to a lot of the shows that I’ve seen, there seems to be a negativity involved in a lot of their shows, so I’m just not a fan of watching their programs.
“I think the combination (of presentation and fighter attitude) -- in some ways how the fights are presented and the manner they're presented and also in some ways the actions and behavior of a lot of the fighters from the UFC -- it takes away from the sport."
Emelianenko was offered a multi-fight, seven-figure contract with the UFC last summer, but declined the offer. Emelianenko went on to sign with Strikeforce -- which is willing to co-promote with his M-1 Global management on shows he appears in -- a couple of weeks later.