Photo by Michael Reynolds/EPA
Just in time for the much-hyped arrival of Fedor Emelianenko in Bellator this Saturday night the Russian MMA legend’s former manager and business partner Vadim Finkelstein appeared on RT Sport this week to talk about Fedor’s return to the cage and to reminisce about their time together as the most successful team in Russian MMA history. During the interview Finkelstein spent a few minutes talking about the pair’s business dealings with Donald Trump, now the fucking president of the United States but then just a simple real estate tycoon looking to work his way into the world of mixed martial arts promotion. Back in 2008 and 2009 Finkelstein and Emelianenko’s M-1 Global organized two events with the Affliction Entertainment promotion on American soil, one featuring Fedor and Tim Sylvia, the other headlined by Fedor and Andrei Arlovski. At the time the majority of shareholder in Affliction was Trump.
In the interview Finkelstein says a couple of nice things about the current president of the United States, calling him a “decent man” and a “confident businessman,” before letting us in on two pieces of information that, while interesting and new, should nevertheless come as no surprise to anyone who’s been paying the slightest bit of attention to the world these last two weeks.
“He was always cheering for Fedor,” Finkelstein remembers of the two Affliction fights, both of which Emelianenko won by first-round knockout. “He was really happy when Fedor beat Arlovski, despite the fact that Arlovski was technically representing America in this fight, as he speaks good English [and] already had a solid fanbase in the States. But Trump was definitely in Fedor’s corner. I saw his reaction after the knockout. He was visibly pumped. He rushed to the ring to congratulate Fedor.”
So what do Finkelstein’s recollections tell us?
Well, first of all, at the same time Trump’s handpicked national security adviser, Michael Flynn, has been forced to resign after admitting he lied about discussing American sanctions against Russian with the Russian ambassador to the United States in December and members of Congress and the FBI and the public are calling for a full investigation into what Trump knew about Flynn’s interactions with the Russians and how this may have played into that country’s clandestine involvement in the American presidential election in November, we get more anecdotal evidence that Trump, even eight years ago, preferred to cheer for a Russian (one of Vladimir Putin’s favorites, no less) against someone at least nominally representing America. How perfect it is then that Fedor is making his long-awaited return to American soil right as Trump’s Russophilia is blowing up his, and the country’s, face.
And also, just one week after we learned that Trump left a Super Bowl viewing party during the third quarter when his beloved New England Patriots were losing 28-3 only to tweet enthusiastically about their miraculous comeback an hour later, we have our suspicions confirmed that Trump is the worst kind of front-runner and fair-weather fan. Of course Trump was “visibly pumped” when the undefeated and undefeatable Fedor knocked out Arlovksi and of course he rushed to the ring to stand next to him after he did. We all know about Trump’s fetish for winners and his need to bask in their reflected glory. But I have no doubt two minutes before that knockout, as the Russian was getting knocked around by Arlovski leg kicks and uppercuts and it looked like the impossible might actually happen, that the now-goddam-Jesus-fucking-Christ-why-have-you-forsaken-us-president of the United States of America was racking his brain thinking of the best way to renounce Fedor and pretend like he had never liked him. Luckily for Trump, Arlovski’s ill-conceived flying knee attempt and Fedor’s sublime timing spared him that inconvenience.
Being a fan of the greatest football team of all time and the greatest fighter of all time must be hard, but Donald Trump, our president, makes it look easy.
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