Martial Arts Champ Takes on Ultimate Fight

The Tiger Woods of mixed martial arts defects from league
By Zach Samalin,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 30, 2007 11:30 AM CST

(Newser) – Not unlike a real-life version of Soviet pain machine Ivan Drago in Rocky IV, Russian mixed martial arts fighter Fedor Emelianenko is, pound-for-pound, the world's best fighter, Esquire reports, and now he's set to give the MMA industry a run for its money. Or maybe his money. Emelianenko's decision to snub the Ultimate Fighting Championship for the new M-1 Global league is reshaping the sport.

Virtually undefeated, and with a tendency to speak in Zen koan-like fragments, Emelianenko's move threatens to leave UFC toothless, Scott Cunningham writes. And, looking like "Putin must have visualized himself when he let the Kremlin release those photos of him hunting shirtless," Emelianenko seems likely to be able to impose his will on MMA promoters worldwide.