Russian MMA great Fedor “The Last Emperor” Emelianenko received a crack in his unbeatable image when he took home a submission loss this past June to Brazilian fighter Fabricio “Vai Cavallo” Werdum. FightersOnly.com has gotten their hands on an interview the MMA legend gave to a Russian TV station where Emelianenko revealed his level of discomfort with fame and people’s high expectations as well as his feeling that Werdum will do whatever he can to avoid a rematch with Emelianenko.
“When I left the arena that night I understood the whole situation,” Emelianenko said of his June meeting with Werdum. “I said to myself that my opponent (Werdum) will avoid me as long as possible (smiling). When the rematch will happen, I don’t know. For now he apparently had an operation on his hand. He will delay the rematch as long as possible.”
In addition to the apparent disdain that Emelianenko harbors for Werdum undergoing elbow surgery, “The Last Emperor” also finds himself vexed with the status that MMA fans ascribed to him and their emotional reactions to his wins and losses.
“I understand [the loss], this is sport, this is life and I was prepared for it,” he said. “But its another matter to wonder if the people around me and the people who watch my fights were prepared! They saw me with a halo.”
Emelianenko went into detail over just how uncomfortable fan-worship makes him feel; stating that he sees himself as no more than a regular man and honestly dislikes how much people believe in and support him.
“For me it is simply regrettable, hurtful and unpleasant seeing how people obsess,” he said. “I am not superman and I am not unbeatable. I am an ordinary human with my own flaws. It is very painful and unpleasant for me when people tell me ‘Feda (affectionate version of Fyodor), we supported you! We waited up all night, got drunk. When it finally came on we raised our spirits, got drunk some more and cheered and yelled across the neighborhood. This is so uncomfortable for me that to be honest in those moments I just want to leave.”
“The Last Emperor” also offered some insight into his motivations, revealing that he is not interested in competing for others’ entertainment alone and that he finds it unfortunate when people enter into MMA competition for shallow or overtly self-serving reasons.
“Sport can be approached many different ways,” Emelianenko went on. “One man competes for his country, another competes to become known, to attain fame and special treatment. One competes without dwelling on the money or glory he receives, another competes only to raise his profile or his popularity with the ladies. A person should carry himself in a cultured manner. To simply be an entertainer… for what purpose, to be recognised in the street? I don’t see the point of that. Its like, I get a lot of offers to be in television programmes but I decline because the topics are devoid of meaning, simply fluff.”