Tuesday, M-1 Global held a press conference for an upcoming M-1 event, Vadim Finkelstein and Fedor Emelianenko were both in attendance, and were asked question regarding the Strikeforce HW GP. Here is what Finkelstein had to say when asked about drug testing in the tournament. Thanks to LowKick for the translation:
Two out of eight fighters in the tournament previously failed a drug test. 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.
Fedor Emelianenko's management, M-1 Global, has been painted as manipulative, greedy, and much more in the past. At least in this case, Finkelstein is aiming at manipulation that has an outcome fans and media will be happy to see. Truth be told though, if he really wanted to make sure fights don't get cancelled, he'd be better off asking for no testing at all considering the participants in this tournament.
Finkelstein at Sports.ru:
"Terms of the tournament are determined, the grid is painted. Although, if Fedor will be in the semi-finals, I plan to insist on a thorough verification of the opponent on drugs."
If this tournament is to be completed without hold up, Strikeforce and M-1 need to agree on a plan for testing with the athletic commissions and stick with it throughout the entire tournament. Picking and choosing who has to jump through hoops and who doesn't is a sure fire way to ruin the tournament by causing fighters to drop out.