M-1 Global’s Evgeni Kogan: We would like to emulate PRIDE FC (Exclusive...

M-1 Global’s Evgeni Kogan: We would like to emulate PRIDE FC (Exclusive Interview)


In an exclusive interview to LowKick.com, M-1 Global Director of Operations Evgeni Kogan discussed a wide array of topics, including Fedor Emelianenko‘s next fight and the future of M-1 Global on Showtime.

Last July, M-1 presented its second card on Showtime, headlined by a Heavyweight collision between Kenny Garner and Pat Bennett. The event took place in Costa Mesa, California, featuring 4 KO/TKO finishes in 5 main card bouts. According to Kogan, having fighters who like to go guns blazing is a part of M-1’s philosophy. After all, M-1 Global are trying to emulate PRIDE, and the type of event production that made it unforgettable for a vast majority of hardcore MMA fans around the world.

Next M-1 event will take place on October 14th, with no less than three title fights. Guram Gugenishvili will finally make his USA debut against Kenny Garner (M-1 Challenge Heavyweight title), Vinny Magalhaes will fight Mikhail Zayats (Light Heavyweight title), and Jason Figueroa will put his Lightweight title on the line against the German phenom Daniel Weichel. the show is likely to take place at the Celebrity Theatre in Phoenix, Arizona.

Make sure you follow Evgeni Kogan on Twitter @evgenikogan.

Can you talk a little about Fedor’s current deal with Showtime? Because it looks like there’s some confusion about it.
Well, right, it’s a little bit complicated. The thing is that Fedor had three fights and one optional on his contract with Strikeforce-Showtime, but only if he continues winning. After three consecutive defeats, they had an option to cancel the deal, or to re-negotiate Fedor’s contract.

Who are “they”? Strikeforce, right?
Fedor’s contract was with both Strikeforce and Showtime. Now, it’s only Showtime.

What about his next fight? There are some rumors about a possible return to Japan, and a fight in Moscow, Russia.
Yes. Fedor is currently under contract with Showtime. We have a lot of options for Fedor, but first, we’ll have to sit and discuss his future with Showtime. We have a very good relationship with that company, so I think during the next few weeks we’ll set a course for Fedor’s next fight.

Any idea on who might be his next opponent?
We want to find a good opponent for Fedor. Someone who deserves a fight of that caliber. Personally, I think Fedor is in a great shape, he’s fully prepared and ready to make his comeback. He still has a lot of fight left in him.

There has been a talk about a possible fight between Fedor Emelianenko and Kevin Randleman. Any truth in that?
You see, Russian press likes interesting headlines. These rumors are not true. And I want people to understand that just because there’s something on Russian domain, ending with .ru; it’s not necessarily a true news piece. We have a very strong PR team, and I’m personally very active on Twitter. Anyone who has a question, needs a comment or just wants to make sure his source is legit – there are more than enough ways to contact us.

Some fans “love to hate” on M-1 Global. Sometimes it’s for constantly re-negotiating contracts, and sometimes simply as a frustration with Fedor not being in the UFC.
Okay, there are basically two parts of what is “M-1 Global”. One is Fedors management, and another is MMA promotion.  M-1 Global, as management, has a very clear view of its goals and the future of Fedor’s Mixed Martial Arts career.  And obviously, it’s all based on what Fedor wants to do as a fighter. He has the last word in every important decision related to his career, and it’s our job to make sure he has the best possible conditions to achieve his goals. There are a lot of fans who are new to the sport. They can’t have their own opinion, so they base it according to marketing policies of certain companies.

UFC President Dana White always talks about some sort of mysterious island, where he negotiated with M-1 about Fedor’s possible signature with the UFC.  I just want to know the name of that island!
I didn’t work for M-1 Global during that time, so I don’t really know anything about this island or its location. The way Dana White talks about it, I always imagine the island from one of the Austin Powers movies.

What are M-1’s goals as fighting promotion? I think we can already sum up 2011 as a successful year, so what are your goals for 2012?
For this year, we are going to have two more great shows on Showtime channel.  As for next year, we are going to negotiate with Showtime to have more fights in 2012. We really hope they enjoyed our previous shows, and obviously, we’ll do our best with the upcoming events in October and December. M-1 Global is always looking for exciting fighters who like to strike, and help us to promote exciting fights in the ring.  Our main goal is to develop as a company by organizing exciting “ring” MMA events for our American audience.  

Having fights in the ring is a great thing for the sport. And if the fight itself is exciting, it all sums up into a great package. We would really like to emulate PRIDE in its best days. That’s the level we would like to reach. And like I said before, it’s really important for us to continue working with Showtime. This is our future as a company, and with Fedor announcing he would like to continue his MMA career, we would be more than happy to have him involved in this process.

What makes us different is the ring, and the fact that we have great fights. It’s like having a very expensive car that just goes smooth but slow, and a less expensive sports car that just gives you more excitement. I’m not trying to compare us to other promotions, but I truly believe that we can achieve a lot because we have a quality MMA product with great fights.

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  • http://lowkickmma.com/author/Vidaros Vidaros

    “We have a lot of options for Fedor,” How delusional are these idiots anyway? 95%of the heavyweight outside Strikeforce and Ufc are rejected freaking meatballs, in what way will that help Fedor at this point?

  • http://lowkickmma.com/author/Spyridon Spyridon

    Your comment implies that they were helping Fedor in the last few years with the fights they found for him…he had nothing to gain and much to lose in most of them.

  • http://lowkickmma.com/author/Vidaros Vidaros

    no bro my comment impies that they should finally put their tail between their legs and get a fresh start if that is what really needs to be done. Fedor is and will allways be a legend for me his last few fights werent bums but werent p4p challenger material either (promotional wise at the least).

  • http://lowkickmma.com/author/Vidaros Vidaros

    and by fresh start i dont mean from the buttom of the pyramid but from somwhere a name like fedors deserves to be. they could have at least try to keep him in SF

  • http://lowkickmma.com/author/MereDictum MereDictum

    Don’t you need some depth to emulate Pride. And his PR is great cause he’s active on Twitter? The only way I’d read this clowns tweeds is if I had insomnia.

    Guarantee this guy got his ass beat on a regular basis when he was a kid. They should all be ashamed for the way they’ve ruined Fedor’s career.

  • http://lowkickmma.com/author/Courtes Courtes

    is that guy joe rogan his brother with glasses on

  • http://lowkickmma.com/author/KeyboardContender Keyboard Contender

    the Austin Powers island answer was awesome!

  • http://lowkickmma.com/author/ian ian

    i dont want fedor in the ufc he is on a 3 fight losing streak,

  • http://lowkickmma.com/author/nickp44 nickp44

    That’s what happens when you let some Russian hipster doofus run the show.

  • http://lowkickmma.com/author/AntonGurevich Anton Gurevich

    Woah, the amount of hate on this page is beyond sense. You guys just get into facts, and like Evgeni himself said – get your own opinion.

    People tend to hate on M-1 just because “it feels right”.

  • http://lowkickmma.com/author/MereDictum MereDictum

    My opinion is based on a very specific set of operative facts. I’m sure your affinity towards M1 is as well although I question the facts you used to state”I think we can all sum up 2011 as a successful year” for M1. Given the losses and eventual cut of their number one asset, I completely disagree. No hate, just don’t see it that way.

  • http://lowkickmma.com/author/MereDictum MereDictum

    I admit my “ass beat” comment was all speculation. No facts to back that one up. Just a gut feeling. 😉

  • http://lowkickmma.com/author/Rigo Rigo

    M-1 is doing what is best for them as the UFC does.
    im just happy there will be other MMA organizations to look up to.
    last year was amazing because i watch UFC and still have Strikeforce events which where nothing less than spectacular and same thing with the WEC , now that Zuffa took over SF its been downhill and well the WEC no longer exist .
    I really want M-1 to expand and keep the fighters options open.

  • http://lowkickmma.com/author/RabbitPuncher RabbitPuncher

    Personally, i feel that the M-1 organization is being somewhat delusional. I’m sure that are capable of find decent fighters and putting on some good shows. But when the cream rises to the top in the world of MMA, Zuffa will always be there to skim it off for themselves. The UFC is the banner all fighters want to be under. I want there to be more than just the UFC, but highly doubt that and stable of fighters that M-1 puts together will ever rival Zuffa’s roster.

  • http://lowkickmma.com/author/RyanVentura Ryan Ventura

    Wonderful interview my friend! I’m a big supporter of M-1. I don’t think they’ll rival or match the UFC in any way, but I enjoy their events quite a bit, and I believe there is enough room in the game for them!

  • http://lowkickmma.com/author/KeithFarrell KeithFarrell

    I ****ing hate this guy. He is such a stuck up **** head.
    Hopefully everyone who reads this interview has seen his interview with Ariel Helwani and therefore his arrogance – he asks to be interviewed before the fighters.
    M-1 puts on some good fights, but they will most likely NEVER get anywhere near Pride’s greatness as an MMA production.
    Someone noted above a major point, something called DEPTH.

  • http://lowkickmma.com/author/Plutonian Plutonian

    After seeing his interview with Ariel Helwani I really didn’t like this guy and lost a lot of respect for M1.
    They completely dropped the ball with Fedor, ruined his career and are the reason why us fans missed out on all his potential fights with top contenders.

  • http://lowkickmma.com/author/RabbitPuncher RabbitPuncher

    Other than their questionable handling of Fedor’s career, I have nothing against M-1. This guy however, what a f@#king arrogant pissant weasel. How the hell did he end up in the fight game?

  • http://lowkickmma.com/author/IChokePeople IChokePeople

    Yup. Personally I think it is great that they are keeping the ring alive and I have been very happy with the quality of event that they are putting on considering where they are in their development.

  • http://lowkickmma.com/author/IChokePeople IChokePeople

    They are growing their promotion, putting on quality events and have a deal with Showtime to air their events in the US. How does that not constitute a successful year? They are growing beyond Fedor.

  • http://lowkickmma.com/author/IChokePeople IChokePeople

    He was joking.