M-1 Global held a press conference in Moscow on Tuesday to hype the upcoming M-1 Challenge XXIII on March 5. In attendance were M-1 Global president Vadim Finkelchtein and Fedor Emelianenko, who also discussed the upcoming Strikeforce heavyweight tournament.
When Finkelchtein was asked about drug testing in the tournament, he said that he was in favor of "a strict drug testing" considering the history of some of the participants.
"Two out of eight fighters in the tournament previously failed a drug test," Finkelchtein said (as translated by LowKick.com). Obviously, I'm talking about Josh Barnett and Antonio Silva. 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. "Our organization paid a heavy price after the cancellation of the fight between Josh Barnett and Fedor. 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."
All we know at this point is that the first round of the tournament will take place in New Jersey, a state with a solid reputation when it comes to MMA drug testing. There is no word on whether the M-1 Global team specifically asked for a more advanced drug testing procedure than New Jersey usually conducts, but chances are, with the Feb. 12 fight date rapidly approaching, that nothing will change.
Emelianenko was also asked about whether he would be interested in seeing MMA become an Olympic sport, and perhaps surprising to some, "The Last Emperor" said he was not in favor of this idea.
"To tell you the truth, I don't think MMA should be an Olympic sport. In my opinion, it could be an Olympic sport only on the amateur level. In MMA you have Olympic Champions in Wrestling, Judo and many other sports, that's why I don't think that making MMA in the Olympics is necessary to push the sport forward. I'm not interested participating in the Olympics. I think that I'm already past this stage of my career."
Finally, Finkelchtein hinted that M-1 and Showtime could be announcing a separate TV deal "in something like two weeks" to air M-1 Global events on the premium cable network.
Other press conference highlights can be found here