Friday, November 28, 2008
Fedor Emelianenko, widely hailed as the best heavyweight fighter in the world, has cancelled his US press tour according to a written statement from his management team. The cancellation comes after the Russian sambo specialist's sudden realization that he cannot speak English, a realization that struck when Fedor was presented with his itinerary (which was to include interviews on "The Today Show" and "Nightline" as well as guest lectures at Columbia University, Yale and Harvard). "This man who follows me around and repeats what I say, but in other languages, I think he's a translator," said Fedor through a translator. "Really, I just thought people couldn't understand me because I mumble. But no, it's because I don't speak anything but Russian." Fedor is set to face former UFC champ Andrei Arlovski at Affliction's sophomore outing on January 24th.
TUF 2 veteran Jorge Gurgel, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt and grappling instructor for former champ Rich Franklin, was cut from the UFC's roster this week but immediately signed with Strikeforce. Gurgel lost four of his seven bouts in the Octagon, with his last outing - a three-round "Fight of the Night" war against Aaron Riley - garnering the lightweight submission master both praise and criticism for his dogged desire to engage in a pure stand-up battle. "I may be a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt, but I swear you will never see an ounce of grappling from me ever again," said Gurgel, who wields at best only mediocre kickboxing skills. "Fans don't want to see me win with fancy armlocks and chokes. They want to see me get my head pounded in - and that's what I'll give them." Gurgel joins a talent-rich Strikeforce roster that includes Josh Thomson and Gilbert Melendez, both of whom will be more than happy to punch him in the face.
According to inside sources, the WEC has undergone some major staffing changes in the past few days. The long-running promotion, which went from a regional, California-based affair to an international Zuffa-owned organization showcasing the best of the lighter weight classes, suffered dismal ratings on its last "Versus" channel event. Included on the list of those who got the axe are janitor John "Broomy" Legumet, who purportedly left a dirty mop head too close to Urijah Faber's hamster cage (Faber subsequently ate it), street team member Spence Feinstein, who failed to put flyers under the windshield wipers of every car in the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino parking lot, and Geraldine "Easy" Ryder, an intern who is allegedly "getting back together with her ex-boyfriend". No word yet if these key employees will be replaced.