Some NBA fans are already sick of the season-long fanfare that is about to hit Defcon-1 in July surrounding the future of LeBron James. MMA doesn't get anywhere near the casual sports fan's interest that the NBA does, but it's got a great story of its own that is growing tiresome or thrilling depending on your perspective. At least the hoopsters get an answer on King James. Will we ever get an answer on Fedor Emelianenko to the UFC?
The story is in a constant state of flux. That's if you choose to follow or can even understand what you're following. So much of what the Fedor camp says is lost in translation. There was a mini-firestorm earlier this month when Fedor said retirement could be an option. Then he told the media on a Strikeforce conference call last week that he wasn't a fan of the UFC. Now we get this glimmer of hope where Fedor says he's being shown more respect and that's a good thing:
"We are constantly negotiating, but only during recent time the Americans began to show some respect. The dialogue between us is completely different right now. They are more interested in our opinion."
In that same video translated by Lowkick.com, Fedor also explained he's still not a huge fan of the way UFC does things:
"UFC is a money making machine. The most important thing for this organization is a brand and its marketing. They have a couple of good fighters and there are also some very good champions; but they are trying to keep everyone at the same level. The most important thing for them is the promotion, not the fighters. I think that they lack a respect for their fighters. As for me, I became a thorn in their side."
A little bit of good. A little bit of bad. Are we any closer to seeing Fedor face the big stars of the UFC heavyweight division, who knows.
It does feel like the fan tide is turning against Fedor. Bloody Elbow has a post saying Fedor's time as undisputed king of the heavyweights is dwindling. What do you think? If he beats an overmatched Fabricio Werdum this weekend, where does Fedor go from here?
Update: Fedor adds more intrigue to the story with a little clarification from Fanhouse:
I did not want to offend the UFC in any way. What I meant is, I don't like to watch fights in general. My main concern is what kind of culture I bring, myself. [...] As for the UFC, when my contract with Strikeforce is over — I have two fights left on my contract — the UFC will have the time and the opportunity to prepare and offer a contract that may be interesting to me
- Fedor Emelianenko