Fioravanti Won’t Be Russian Back

Luigi Fioravanti is getting ready for his June 10 showdown with Joe Doerkson on the Score Fighting Series card in Mississauga, Ontario, and judging from his comments to the press, he is happy to be back in North America and the stability that it’s athletic commissions provide. Fioravanti recently spoke with and elaborated at length about his displeasure with his recent fighting experience on an M-1 card in St. Petersburg, Russia:

Fioravanti alleges the fight was marred by one-sided refereeing and that Semenov was sniffing an unidentified substance between rounds.

“I’d take the guy down and he was grabbing on the ropes and he was kneeing me in the (groin), poking me in the eyes and throwing elbows (to the head) when there are no elbows in M-1,” Fioravanti said. “If you watch the fight, every time he kneed me or something, I (said to the ref), ‘He’s kneeing me in the balls; he’s poking me in the eyes.’ I kept telling the referee and he thought I was just bull—–ing.”

“The thing is, there’s no (athletic) commission in Russia. So his coach was giving him something to smell. I don’t know if it was smelling salts to wake him up in between rounds or what. I was just kind of like, ‘What the hell? I don’t fight like this.’

“It was in a little vial or bottle or something, but what can I say? It’s not illegal over there.”

You can watch the fight online, but if Semenov was smelling a substance between rounds, it’s not visible on the tape.

Fioravanti said he likely won’t return to Russia any time soon and is thankful to be fighting under the watchful eye of the Ontario Athletic Commission against a respectful competitor like Doerksen

For those of you who wish to check out the fight in question, it has been provided below:

I have to give kudos to Luigi for framing his beef as more of an issue with the Russian commission or lack thereof rather than a problem with M-1, but the absence of the former kinda inexorably throws the onus of the problems on the latter. In situations like M-1, and United Gory for that matter, the promotions are made possible by the influence of a particular camp, fight team, or management group. In such a siutation it is not impossible to get a fair shake but by their very nature open up a can of worms as to conflicts of interest. The infrastructure for such cards can often veer towards sometimes murky relationships between those involved in the card and it’s combatants, the most recent being Rich Clementi’s fight in Sweden. This isn’t so much an indictment of M-1 as it is a commentary on the still formative stages that some foreign mma markets still find themselves in. The clear delineation between an oversight structure and the community it governs has been clearly established for the most part in the US market but is still lacking in some of the international markets. Will the problem be solved anytime soon?… maybe, maybe not. These area’s growth will reach a critical mass that will allow that leap, but it won’t be a uniform process.

Luigi’s experience seems like a bit of a stacked deck situation RE: the St Petersburg card, but I’m sure Luigi isn’t quite yet ready to throw out the baby with the bathwater as it pertains to his relationship with M-1. I think he could/would probably be more comfortable with another foray with M-1, if it were in a Stateside environment. M-1’s cards on Showtime as well as a number of their M-1 Challenge/Selection cards take place in North America, ensuring that the AC’s stateside keep the unseen thumb off the scales of justice. In the case of getting screwed on a US card, you can generally chalk it up to rank incompetence moreso than out and out corruption, not that it makes you feel any better at the end of the night. Luigi was careful in noting his displeasure with his Russian experience without alienating the M-1 folks and being slotted into some of those American shows still seems like a possibility. I think his deft handling/minced words speaks to how much of a political minefield you have to navigate in the sport, be it promotions large or small.