Posted 08/09/2013 by admin in Untethered MMA

Vadim? Vadim? The Fedor/Stri​keforce Conference Call in Retrospect

By Mike Fagan, August 9th, 2013

Strikeforce signed Fedor Emelianenko on August 3, 2009. Three days later, they held the greatest conference call in the history of MMA to announce the news. Barking dogs, car alarms, participants jumping in and out of the call. Those who participated or listened live recognized the Instant Classic we had on our hands.

My weekly podcast, Untethered MMA, celebrated the fourth anniversary of this piece of MMA history on the show this week. I’ve plucked out the best excerpts for those without an hour to spare.


“I just want to say, it’s been an exciting week here in America. I’m happy to officially welcome our, Strikeforce’s new partner’s, M-1, Mr. Vadim Finkelstein, and welcome the greatest heavyweight fighter of all time in mixed martial arts, Fedor, to Strikeforce/M-1 co-promotions in conjunction with Showtime.” – Scott Coker, Strikeforce CEO

It’s important to note who Coker thanks first. It isn’t their new heavyweight jewel. Instead, it’s the slimy Russian handlers behind him.

*    *    *

“I think that our champion, Alistair Overeem, and M-1′s champion, Fedor, would be a fantastic fight, and that probably will happen at some point.” – Coker

“We’ll probably enter the pay-per-view business, but that’s probably 6-9 months away.” – Coker

Strikeforce never put on that pay-per-view, nor did we get to see

that Fedor-Overeem fight. Instead, Fedor destroyed Brett Rogers in his Strikeforce debut. A contract holdout preceded the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix, where Fabricio Werdum would upset the Russian.

*    *    *

“Believe me, if I thought this was going to be a situation where we were going to be losing money, and just going out of business, there’s no way we would have done it.” – Coker

“Well, here’s the thing. Those other companies it wasn’t their core business. IFL came from a publishing/comic book background. Affliction was a t-shirt company. Bodog was a gambling company.

“We’re going to be around a long time. M-1′s going to be around a long time. Showtime’s going to be around for a long time. It’s our core business. If people stick to their core competency, they’re going to be fine.” – Coker

“That’s when partnerships should happen when two companies’ goals are in alignment. I think that’s when people should partner. I think this is a situation where I think it falls under that category.” – Coker

Zuffa would purchase Strikeforce 1 year, 7 months, and 9 days after the latter signed Fedor.


The star of the call was Fedor and Vadim’s translator, Tanya. Tanya is probably insane.

“I’m sorry I cannot hear the question. I’m sorry.” – Tanya

“Could you kindly repeat the question please?” – Tanya

“Can somebody who might can hear better repeat the question? I’m afraid the connection is not really very good, so I cannot hear the question really very good.” – Tanya

Tanya had a rough go of it.

*    *    *

“From my viewpoint, the UFC does not-” – Vadim Finkelstein, M-1 Global CEO, via Tanya

“Can we? Does this give-” – John Beyrooty (Beyrooty worked with the media, not sure what his official title was.)

“OK. Can I- Can I continue?” – Tanya


“YES.” – Everyone

“Yes, please continue.” – Chris DeBlasio, Senior Director, Communications, Showtime Sports


“Our next question is from Bay-oh Day-ur from USA Today.” – Debbie the Operator

“Beau Dure?” – Unknown, might have been Beyrooty

“Yes, yes this is Beau Dure. Thanks for the translation there.” – Beau Dure, USA Today reporter

*    *    *

And here’s where everything went to shit:

“As far as I can tell, M-1 doesn’t have a promoter’s license in the US. Couple questions: Scott, does it matter to you that they don’t have a promoter’s license? And Vadim do you have designs on becoming a licensed promoter in the US, and if you do when? And if not, why not?” – Josh Gross, then of Sports Illustrated


“This is a question to whom?” – Tanya

“Well, let’s start with Vadim first? Does M-1 have plans on becoming [dogs are barking in the background] a licensed promoter in the United States- [unintelligible]” – Gross

“Vadim? Vadim?” – Tanya

“Vadim?” – Unidentified Russian Male

“-and if not, why not?” – Gross

“Bark! Bark!” – dogs

“Vadim, [something in Russian]?” – Tanya

“Bark! Bark!” – dogs

“Vadim? ….. Vadim?” – Tanya

“Bark! Bark!” – dogs

“[Something in Russian.]” – Unidentified Russian Male

“Vadim? Vadim?” – Tanya

“Have you lost Vadim again, Debbie?” – Beyrooty

“Yeah, it looks like we have. We’re dialing back out to him now.” – Debbie

“Dial back out. Josh could you redirect the question?” – Beyrooty

“Yeah, let me ask Scott then. Scott, does it matter to you that your partner isn’t licensed a licensed promoter? And if not, why not? Could you get into that?” – Gross

[Fedor laughs.]


“Scott Coker, you on the call still? Debbie, do we have Scott?” – DeBlasio

[Russian mumbling.]

“Did we lose Scott too?” – Beyrooty

“Looks like we lost Scott too. We’re dialing back out to him too.” – Debbie

“Am I scaring people away? Uhm, this is no good. Is Fedor on the line?” – Gross

“Yes.” – Fedor

“[Something in Russian.]” – Tanya

“Yeah?” – Fedor

“Fedor’s here?” – Gross

“Yeah.” – Fedor

“Fedor?” – Tanya

“Yes yes. Yes yes yes.” – Fedor, annoyed

“Fedor is here.” – Tanya

*    *    *

“Operator, do you have Scott’s 7574 number? The last four digits.” – DeBlasio


“Operator?” – DeBlasio

“No, we have 408-230-[REDACTED].” – Debbit


Yes, they actually gave out Scott Coker’s number live on the call. As far as I know, it doesn’t work.

*    *    *

“Is Vadim back on?” – Beyrooty

“Vadim, something in Russian, Vadim?” – Tanya


“Vadim?” – Tanya

“Getting mixed signals here.” – Beyrooty

“I don’t think so.” – Tanya

“We had him back on, but he must have disconnected again.” – Debbie.

“Sigh…OK. All right.” – Beyrooty

You could hear all existential hope escape Beyrooty’s soul with that sigh.


“Our next question is from Loretta Hunt from” – Debbie

[Sounds of windshield wipers and then a car alarm goes off.]

“What is this?” – Unidentified

“Loretta, you there?” – Beyrooty

“Loretta’s up to no good. Is that a car alarm I hear, Loretta?” – Chris

“No, that’s not me. I’m sitting in my living room. No cars.” – Loretta


Of all the insanity, though, from the alarms to the dogs to someone’s kids playing in the background, Vadim Finkelstein took the cake. No one ever mistook Vadim for anything but a shyster, and he made sure to reinforce the notion here.

“Vadim would like to add, he wonders whom does Dana White consider to be the best fighters? The fighters which have their record 4 to 1? [Chuckles in the background.] Vadim says that maybe this is the fighter which became the product of the great PR machine of the UFC.” – Vadim via Tanya

“Brett Rogers is very good opponent. Is much better opponent for Fedor. Also, should be very interesting for fans as well. Because he has ten fights and no one loss.” – Tanya/Vadim

Following the loss to Fedor, Rogers would lose four of his next seven fights (with one no contest). Lesnar almost lost his life to diverticulitis before defending his belt against Shane Carwin. He dropped the belt to Cain Velasquez, lost to Alistair Overeem, and retired from MMA.

“Fedor’s name outside of United States of America is much bigger than the name of the UFC. If Fedor comes to the UFC, he’ll make the UFC famous outside of United States of America.” – Vadim via Tanya

“The contract with Strikeforce is our big staircase up.

“Fedor managed to step into hearts of a lot of Japanese people, and now with the help of Strikeforce, Fedor also will be able to step into hearts of American people and American audience.

“M-1 Global, this is the company which makes a lot of deals.

“If we think about Brock Lesnar, nobody knew him a year ago. So, would you kindly give us some time? And M-1 Global and Strikeforce will be able to show to everybody what we’re able to achieve together.” – Vadim via Tanya

I’m not sure about you, dear reader, but I don’t want anyone stepping into my heart.


“If I had some vodka, I’d toast everybody!” – Eddie Goldman, host of No Holds Barred

Because nothing says media professionalism like toasting your subjects with their preferred local liquor.


Mike Fagan is a weekly contributor to MMA Owl. He also hosts Untethered MMA every Thursday at 7 p.m. ET at, also available as a podcast via iTunes.