by Steven Marrocco – MMAWeekly.com
MMAWeekly has learned that Fedor Emelianenko will conduct a press conference in Moscow early Thursday morning for the Russian telecast of Affliction “Trilogy.” The press conference will be broadcast on Channel One, a state-run channel with the largest broadcast reach.
It’s all but certain Emelianenko will address the sudden removal of friend Josh Barnett from the card’s main event due to a positive test for steroids.
Steven Bash, Emelianenko’s translator and an American representative for Affliction partner M-1 Global, said the No. 1 ranked heavyweight was in transit from his camp in Stary Oskol to Russia and learned of the change this morning.
“He is fully aware of the latest developments,” said Bash.
Bash added that Emelianenko has yet to complete his pre-fight medicals for the event and is arriving in California early, possibly on Sunday, to submit necessary paperwork and tests.
So far, the leading candidate to face Emelianenko appears to be Vitor Belfort, who would vacate his main card slot against Jorge Santiago to headline against the heavier Russian.
According to Dave Meltzer of Yahoo! Sports, Affliction representatives are offering a $500,000 purse to the eventual replacement for Barnett.