On Tuesday, November 8, the United States will vote to determine who between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump will take lead the country for the coming four years. Ahead of the election, Russian MMA promoter Vadim Finkelchtein recalled his interactions with one of the candidates several years ago.
Back in 2008, a joint effort between Oscar de la Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions, Russian MMA organization M-1 Global and major shareholder Trump led to the formation of Affliction. The promotion lasted two events, both headlined by legendary fighter Fedor Emelianenko (who won in a combined four minutes), before it went under ahead of the third show.
Despite the failed venture, Finkelchtein maintains fond memories of his interactions with Trump.
“He is quite a nice guy,” Finkelchtein told MK.ru. “He left a very good impression. Once Trump was interviewed about the M-1 and good words were spoken. In general, to the organization of the tournament, he had an indirect relationship more than a partner with the promotion.”
Trump planned to start a reality TV show during Affliction’s run called ‘Fighting Fedor,’ which would have coincided with his planned visit to Russia at the time. However, when the promotion went under, plans for the show fizzled. The promotion’s financial troubles were in part due to the Russian heavyweight’s compensation for fighting in Affliction. According to Politico, Fedor’s contract with M-1 Global was a lucrative $300,000 per bout plus a $1.2 million consulting fee.
According to Finkelchtein, Trump’s communication with Fedor was limited because of the language barrier.
“Fedor did not know English. Therefore, they only communicated through an interpreter and when they were in his office. We did not know then that he would be a candidate for US president (laughs). But he was always larger than life, and could attract sponsors well.”
Asked whether a Trump victory would be beneficial to Russia, Finkelchtein’s response was definitive.
“If I went to vote, it would vote for Donald!”
Listen to Karim Zidan analyze Trump’s supposed ties to Russian MMA and whether they reflect on his relationship with Putin.
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