Retired legend Fedor Emelianenko is touring Canada, in support of the World Mixed Martial Arts Association. The WMMA is a non-profit group run by crazy Russian M-1 owner and Emelianenko's manager Vadim Finkelchtein. The WMMA - not to be confused with Women's MMA - has the stated goal of getting amateur MMA in the Olympics. Emelianenko serves are the organization's honorary president.
“I’m really here to promote the sport, provide support for Canadian fighters and be here to celebrate the joining of (the Canadian MMA Federation and the worldwide organization),” said Fedor to Danny Austin for the Calgary Sun, through hot translator Ioulia Reynolds. “Getting MMA in the Olympics is the main goal. Right now we’re focusing on the safety of the sport and putting all the rules and practices in place to adhere to world standards of the sport and make sure it’s safe.”
Although he is irrevocably retired, Fedor is not getting fat and happy. He has the same mirthful eyes and wide, goofy grin.
And he hasn't stopped training.
“I still train, so there isn’t much that I miss,” said Emelianenko. “A true athlete is someone who doesn’t just stop training when they stop competing. It’s a way of life and they keep in shape just to keep up that standard.
“Plus, there’s a lot of younger guys who would like to take me down, so I always need to keep up because I definitely don’t want that to happen.”
In the sport's early days, Miletich Martial Arts had world champions when the gym consisted of a racquetball court. Now there are sprawling celebrity camps, with reporters cycling through on a constant basis. However, Fedor still advocates the spartan training he is famous for.
“It’s essential for a fighter to go separately and just focus on training away from everybody else,” said Emelianenko. “(To be an MMA fighter) takes hard work. You need to be fearless. You need to see your target and go for it. You have to turn all your negatives into positives and all your weaknesses into strengths.”
Fedor will never fight again, but if he did, if he was again at his peak, he knows who he'd want to mix it up with.
“Cain Velasquez,” said Fedor. “He has some technical difficulties, but he has ambition and he’s fearless. He wants to win so badly and he’s in great condition. He’s a thinking fighter."