Vitor Belfort, his trainer Shawn Tompkins and his manager told Cagewriter that the fighter has accepted the offer to fight Fedor Emelianenko. Belfort's gym, Xtreme Couture was buzzing in anticipation of the fight. He even sent out some texts to announce that he was fighting Fedor, including one to B.J. Penn's camp:
Now it's more than 18 hours later and still no announcement? What's happening. Fedor's manager Vadim Finkelchtein indicated that they really don't want to fight Belfort:
"Everyone in the world now wants to see the fight of Fedor, not Barnett," Finkelchtein said. "People want to see Fedor fight. Belfort can make heavyweight, but the fans don't want this fight. Fedor isn't seeking an easy fight. If logistics weren't an issue, we'd like to see Fedor fight against Brett Rogers. Fans want it, (and) so do we."
Are Fedor and his camp afraid of fighting the smaller, well-rounded Belfort? On fight night, Fedor will likely walk in with at least an 18-pound weight advantage. It is a highly risky fight for the world's best heavyweight (Cagewriter has had Fedor No. 1 pound-for-pound since June of 2008). He's opened off-shore as a -700 favorite over Belfort and sources in Las Vegas say that's about where the line would fall in Sin City if the fight comes off.
If Fedor loses to a blown-up light heavyweight, it certainly takes a lot of the luster away from his legacy and his future negotiating abilities. The camp is pushing for Brett Rogers. You can certainly see why they'd want a huge heavyweight who doesn't move well and hasn't been training for a fight.
But does Finkelchtein really know what the fans want or is it what Fedor wants?