If Fedor Emelianenko’s manager, Vadim Finkelchtein, had his way, his client would be fighting Strikeforce’s Brett Rogers next weekend at “Affliction: Trilogy.” Although the former Sam’s Club tire repairman is a tough opponent, he’s nowhere near the caliber of Josh Barnett, who was abruptly scrapped after a failed drug test.
“Everyone in the world now wants to see the fight of Fedor, not Barnett,” Finkelchtein said earlier today at a press conference in Moscow, via M-1Global.com. “People want to see Fedor fight. Belfort can make heavyweight, but the fans don’t want this fight. Fedor isn’t seeking an easy fight. If logistics weren’t an issue, we’d like to see Fedor fight against Brett Rogers. Fans want it, (and) so do we.”
Yesterday, Mike Afromowitz, Strikeforce’s director of communications, told MMAjunkie.com that Fabricio Werdum and Brett Rogers will not be available to face Fedor Emelianenko on Affliction’s pivotal third promotion.
“It’s safe to say neither Fabricio or Brett will be fighting on August 1st,” Afromowitz said. “The plan is still for Fabricio to fight on August 15th, and we hope to have an opponent named soon. As for Brett, nothing is finalized, but he won’t be fighting on August 1st.”
Emelianenko was set to defend his strap against Barnett in the most highly anticipated heavyweight title tilt in history, however Barnett’s positive steroid test definitively squashed that dream bout.
“I feel disappointed about this situation,” Emelianenko stated about Barnett’s predicament. “But I will fight anyone who Affliction puts in front of me. I know a lot of fans waited for this fight to happen, and I am sorry for them. I can’t do much about it now, but I am in good shape. My training has been good and continues to go well.”
It appears that light heavyweight Vitor Belfort will likely get the nod to take on the Russian inside the Honda Center in Anaheim, California, however no official word has come from Affliction Entertainment.