The promoter of the Fight Nights Global events, Kamil Gadzhiev, claimed during a recent podcast appearance that Fedor specifically chose Maldonado from a list of potential opponents.
“Fedor was choosing from opponents that I offered him,” Gadzhiev said to the ValeTudo.ru podcast. “This is a situation where Fedor’s name is much bigger than the name of Fight Nights. We have to call things by what they really are. We can’t appoint the opponents for Fedor. We’re simply in a different league here. We have parity.”
As Gadzhiev explained, Fedor’s participation in the upcoming June 17th event was important to the promotion, and they were willing to meet any necessary requirements to make a fight with the MMA legend happen.
“Fedor’s participation is extremely important in this event. For us it’s a milestone marketing event. So it’s not the situation when we signed a guy and can do anything in the interests of the organization. Why should I lie to everyone now? Yes, we need Fedor, as it’s a breakthrough for us. But we can get Fedor in our fight card only by taking into consideration his interests also.”
Gadzhiev then spoke about the list of potential opponents that Fedor was given, which apparently also included KSW Heavyweight Champion Karl Bedorf. Oli Thompson was also reportedly contacted about potentially fighting Fedor.
“Fedor was totally adequate when choosing the opponent. He never said ‘give me a can so I could beat him.’ He understands that fighting a lower-class opponent that he would defeat in one minute is a road to nowhere. Japanese didn’t have many options with Jaideep Singh back in time. But if his fight with Maldonado will be the same, people would eventually lose interest in Fedor. He understands this and never asks someone [weak] he could easily beat.”
Fedor Emelianenko vs. Fabio Maldonado headlines Fight Nights 50 in St. Petersburg, Russia on June 17, 2016, airing live on UFC Fight Pass.