Back 2006, when I was shooting for now extinct BodogFight I had the chance to meet the now considered best MMA fighter in the world in person. Back then I had no idea nor interest in MMA fighting or any martial arts for that matter. I still don’t care much for it but after meeting several fighters and interview them my opinion towards these violent sports has changed a lot. Most of the fighters I met were quite nice people, very focused and loving for their sport. I never understood why anyone would like to make a career out of beating people up, but we are all different and some people love the one on one physical challenge so much they are willing to surrender their lives to what they love the most, beating people up.
We were sent to Atlantic City to film an MMA tournament and it just happened that Fedor was giving a seminar there during our visit. We filmed the whole seminar and interviewed Fedor for our records. Later on, Fedor was signed up by Bodog to fight Matt Lindland. The first thing that struck me about Fedor is that he did not look like a fighter at all, I saw this solid but rather chubby looking balding man on his early 30’s giving instructions to a group of about 50 fighters. They all listened to his tips through his Russian translator.
I did not know who Fedor was but I did notice all the fighters there seemed to be very excited to be there. Later on, a few months after the filming I decided to check up on Fedor and was surprised to find out he was considered one of the best fighters in the world. I could not believe it, that chubby smiley humble guy? he looked like a friendly next door guy. I could totally picture him selling me a couple of chicken breasts at the local meat market. Well, looks deceive, who could convince me I was standing next to the most lethal human obliterating machine in recent history, no one, until I saw him fight.
What I remember most about Fedor was his humble nature, he gave this aura of being a really nice person, someone calm, not intimidating, and sincere. Precisely, he had a lot of the traits that you would never expect to see on a fighter of his level and that is what makes him so especial and what made me look at the sport with different eyes.
I still don’t care for the violence and blood and I have been there, filming fights on the ring, getting splashed with sweat and blood, hearing bones and flesh crunching and I don’t like it. The only reason I check back on MMA is because Fedor, because I met him and because I liked him as a person. I am glad that he is successful doing what he loves and one day he will lose and get old and stop fighting perhaps, but I am sure something will remain, to me the most important, Fedor will still be a nice guy, humble, calm and I like that.
Here is Fedor wrongly tagged as the baddest man on the planet, yes inside the ring but not outside:
This is a small clip of the seminar where I first met Feodor: