Russian MMA legend Fedor Emelianenko’s management team M-1 Global recently called a press conference recently in promotion of the upcoming M-1 Challenge 23 event and Emelianenko’s impending return to the cage. During the conference (props to LowKick.com), Vadim Finkelstein revealed that M-1 will be looking for more strict performance enhancing drug tests for the upcoming Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix, in which Emelianenko will be a participant.
“Two out of eight fighters in the tournament previously failed a drug test. Obviously, I’m talking about Josh Barnett and Antonio Silva,” said Finkelstein. “We want fair competition for everyone, so that’s why I will ask the commission to perform a strict drug testing. Fedor is not using any kind of substance to enhance his performance, and will be ready for any kind of testing. So if the commission decides to follow our suggestion, we’ll be ready.”
While Silva has tested positive for an illegal anabolic steroid once, Barnett has failed PED tests three times in his professional career. His most recent infraction, which occurred in 2009, even caused the cancellation of a planned bout with Emelianenko and the sinking of the Affliction promotion; in addition to maintaining general fighter safety, M-1 is also looking to avoid losing out on any resources put into promoting the tournament, as they did when they promoted the ill-fated Barnett-Emelianenko Affliction bout.
“Our organization paid a heavy price after the cancellation of the fight between Josh Barnett and Fedor,” Finkelstein said. “We did a lot of promotion for this fight, which in the end did not take place. That’s why as a promoter and manager, I don’t want this to happen ever again.”
Emelianenko will return to the cage this February 12th for the first time since posting what many consider to be his first legitimate loss to Fabricio Werdum this summer. “The Last Emperor” will take on Antonio Silva in the main event of Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Silva at the Izod Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey, in a bout that will kick off the opening round of the Grand Prix.