Publish date: January, 31, 2009
M-1 Global president Vadim Finkelstein talks to DXL Magazine. He discusses such topics as Fedor's future opponents and negotiations with the UFC.
-What is going on with Fedor contract wise?
There is a contract with M-1.

-The big question that MMA fans in North America want to know is will Fedor sign with the UFC? Do you think there is a chance of this happening?
Fedor has a contract with M-1 but we are ready to cooperate. The problem with UFC is that it is a very closed organization. M-1 is open to cooperation like in cases with boxing organizations. Fedor can not and doesn?t want to sign an exclusive contract. He wants to fight with Champions from different organizations.

-What is it like negotiating with the UFC?
Our negotiations are like a big cake and UFC is afraid of loosing a piece because they prefer to eat the whole cake by themselves. That?s why negotiations with them are one-sided.

-What are the obstacles standing in the way of a deal?
We are ready to fight only with UFC Champions. Fedor met with Nogueira 3 times already. We are open to cooperation.

-How do you feel about some of the derogatory comments that Dana White has said about Fedor?
If I were Dana White I would say the same things because his organization is the biggest one. But within this organization there is no universally recognized Champion. I really respect Mr. White. He has done a lot for the sport. There were hard times but nevertheless made this sport successful in America. I have been developing the sport in Russia since ?97. But today White is hampering MMA's development. He makes his business better but doesn?t allow his fighters to grow up.

-Where do you see Fedor fighting in 2009?
Fedor will perform at the tournaments organized by M-1, Affliction, and Golden Boy. For today there is no better candidate than Arlovski.

-What do you think it will take to get to the point where MMA promotions (ie. UFC) will work with other organizations so champions can fight champions and fans can see the mega fights they want to see?
I think these fights are possible. They would be interesting and could bring more interest to the tournaments. Fans would have the possibility to check out the strongest fighters from different organizations.

-Who do you feel Fedor should fight next? Who are the legit contenders for Fedor's title? Who are his top rivals?
The next bout will be with Arlovski. Then Barnett. As far as high level fighters, there are many of them. It?s hard to mention everybody.

-I asked Fedor this same question, but what do you say to the critics who claim that Fedor hasn't fought the best competition over the last few years? Tim Sylvia was probably his toughest opponent recently, but he was UFC Champ when the heavyweight division was very weak.
I think that?s bullshit. All the opponents of Fedor were really strong. All of them were from the top 10. Fedor does not avoid strong fighters.