On behalf of Bleacher Report, I’m back in Stary Oskol, Belgorod, not far from Fedor Emelianenko’s home. (Yes, this is really where Fedor is from.) Of course, I’m actually in New Jersey but, who cares? It’s all relative anyway.
We learned a lot about what makes Fedor Emelianenko tick in my Part One article by the same title. The Last Emperor offered only morsels of responses to my first five-questions. Fodor’s answers were spurious—just like my questions were. But it was fun conjecture.
Fedor Emelianenko is a complex man. He comes across as the friendliest—and quietest—pre-programmed MMA fighter in the world.
I guess the American press nicknamed him, “The Russian Experiment” for a reason. And we already found out that Fedor is anything but pre-programmed.
The Russians nicknamed him, Emelianenko Fedor. That’s pretty catchy, huh?
I found it difficult to extract direct and detailed answers from Fedor—you know, sort of like interviewing those men in Washington. But, I can still translate what he says into what he really thinks...maybe.
Fedor is sitting on a bench in a beautiful tree-lined park, reading a Popular Mechanics magazine, of all things. I thought that Russian guys would prefer something like, King Magazine for Chess Masters, or at least Men’s Health and Fitness.
So, in this casual and relaxing setting, let’s ask the world’s Greatest MMA fighter five more questions, and then try to guess how he might answer and what he could be thinking.
Q: Hi Fedor, how are you? Do you like my new Hawaiian shirt? I got it on sale at K-Mart for $7.00 (Clears throat) Anyway, I’d like to know if you saw UFC 98, and if so, what did you think of the fights?
A: (Grins)Yes, I did see UFC 98. It was a great event. I especially liked the Machida vs. Evans fight. But all of the matches were exciting.
And yes, I do like your Hawaiian shirt very much. (Moderate sneer followed by a blank expression)
What Fedor is thinking: The fights were great, but why must the American fans boo so much? Even forty thousand fans at the Saitama Arena in Japan cheer—for both fighters. The people are respectful. It’s the same thing in Russia. Everyone appreciates the athletes and all that we endure in training.
And are you serious about your Hawaiian shirt, comrade? We use better rags to check the oil in our cars!
Q: When not training, what do you do to relax? For instance, do watch movies? Do you have any favorites?
A: Well, yes, I do like to watch movies—documentaries also. (A look of deep contemplation) Some of my favorite films are “Ikiru”, “The Burmese Harp”, “Ivan’s childhood”, “The Decalogue Series”, and “The Return”, along with many other classic dramas. I like to read: “King Magazine for Chess Masters”,” Bleacher Report”, and classic literature. (A wide Ron Howard grin)
What Fedor is thinking: Ha! That’s what my wife watches and reads! Me read? Mad Magazine and Bleacher Report is all I really read. And my favorite TV show is repeats of “The Golden Girls.” So, why would I tell that to the press?
Q: Do you play chess?
A: Yes. But I don’t get to play it as often as I’d like. (Slight grin)
What Fedor is thinking: Does this clown think that all Russians play chess? Sure I can play it, but I hate chess! My favorite games are “Battling Tops” and Rock ’em Sock ’em Robots! And I like to play Demolition Derby with little remote controlled cars. My daughters always beat me in that game. Ha! The press doesn’t have to know that we Russians waste just as much time as the Americans.
Q: Do you study fight videos of your upcoming opponents as part of your training regiment—you know, to look for weaknesses?
A: (Smiles)Well, I like to watch at least one fight video of my opponent before a match. I probably don’t study enough footage as I should. (Laughs briefly)
What Fedor is thinking: Me study? I used to watch videos of my opponents, but not anymore. Because, during the actual match, the other guy’s fighting style is never the same as what I see on the video! I automatically adjust my game-plan according how my opponent is fighting. So instead of studying fights, I watch Looney Tune cartoons.
Q: Do you think MMA gloves are beneficial or a hindrance to the sport?
A: (Contemplative look) Maybe a little of both. One the one hand, gloves makes it harder to sinking in or escape from submissions. But the gloves do protect the hands while striking.
What Fedor is thinking: Having gloves in MMA has never made sense. I never felt comfortable wearing gloves on top of already taped up hands. That’s for boxing. Having to wear gloves makes the fights last longer. And the longer the fight, the more chance one of us will get seriously injured. Without gloves, I get to go home sooner and have more time to play Demolition Derby.
Fedor, on behalf of Bleacher Report, I’d like to thank you for your time. (We shake hands)
Fedor: (Smiles widely) you’re welcome. It was my pleasure.
What Fedor is thinking: It’s about time that shish-kabob idiot with the stupid shirt finished! Maybe next time, Bleacher Report will send a real sports writer over here. Uh oh. “I Love Lucy” starts in 10-minutes! Oh! I hear the ice cream truck!