Jeff Monson: “America is just a land some people claimed, took from some other people and said it was theirs”
Heavyweight Says Upcoming Opponent Fedor Emelianenko Still an Elite Fighter
By Kelsey Mowatt
As a result of fighting professionally throughout the MMA world since 1997, and having challenged for the UFC heavyweight title, Jeff Monson has likely grown well accustomed to being in the spotlight. Anyone that has closely followed the career of the 40 year-old-veteran, however, also knows that Monson has drawn attention for publicly voicing his criticisms of the American Government. To say that some people view his anarchist driven opinions as ‘controversial’, might be putting it mildly.
Later this month, Monson will head to Russia to add yet another notable bout to his 50 fight plus resume, by taking on the legendary Fedor Emelianenko on November 20th. After the fight’s promoter, M-1 Global, referred to Monson as an “American Hero” in one of the event’s pre-fight video ads, however, the conversation didn’t remain solely on fighting.
Recently, when FCF approached Pat Miletich to see whether he believes Monson should be called an “American Hero”, the renowned trainer and former UFC champion declared that the heavyweight was “nowhere near.” Monson evidently doesn’t disagree.
“I don’t think I should be called an “American Hero” because to me, America is just a land some people claimed, took from some other people and said it was theirs,” said Monson. “America doesn’t mean anything to me. The government has done a lot of bad things, continues to do a lot of bad things…So being called an American doesn’t mean anything; I’m Jeff Monson.”
Miletich proceeded to add that Monson, “throughout time, has proven to be flat-out, anti-American”, citing comments the fighter has made in the past, as well as a recent Twitter exchange the two had.
“I like Pat Miletich; I think he has a lot of passion,” said Monson. “For me, I think someone that has a lot of passion and loves something, is better than someone that is just apathetic, and is just, whatever, whatever, ‘I do my job, do my life,’ I’d rather they have passion for something rather than nothing at all.”
“I think Pat’s a good person, even though we don’t agree at all about a lot of stuff,” Monson added. “I just think he’s so patriotic, and so dedicated to his beliefs, that he doesn’t want to hear or see anything differently. He doesn’t want to educate himself…But to have a real in depth debate, I don’t think he knows enough about what the U.S., and these multinational conglomerates that basically run our government are doing.”
While both men clearly have polar opposite views on politics and American foreign policy, like Miletich, Monson agrees that his anarchist beliefs were likely not considered when M-1 Global produced the promo vid.
“I don’t think they had any idea when they said that; they had no idea it would spark this kind of political debate,” Monson noted. “They just thought ‘here is an American with a lot fights, has been all over, Pride and the UFC, fighting a Russian legend, America versus Russia.”
Monson’s ability to incite emotional and vitriolic political debates aside, the fighter is focusing on his next professional task at hand, which is the aforementioned Emelianenko.
“The guy’s only 33, 34, something like that, so I don’t think he’s declined,” said Monson, while assessing Fedor (31-4) and the fact he’s lost three straight fights. “Just look at the fights he’s lost. He knocked (Fabricio) Werdum down, got on top of him, threw punches and got caught in a triangle. That’s the same thing that happened when he fought (Antonio Rodrigo) Nogueira but he was able to pull out of it….I will say that the “Bigfoot” Silva fight was the one fight where Fedor got beat down, and then (Dan) Henderson, same thing, knocked him down, got on top and Henderson just caught him.”
“He’s beaten a lot of people,” Monson (43-12) added. “He’s knocked out a lot of people, and I don’t think his striking power or his other skills have diminished at all. I’m definitely going to have to bring my A game.”
While many would likely say that Monson’s “A game” is largely reliant upon his highly regarded grappling abilities, the American Top Team fighter doesn’t believe that he has to take Fedor down, in order to secure a victory.
“I think if I stand in front of him and we just bang the whole time he has a definite advantage,” said Monson. “I’ve been working a lot on my striking. I just don’t think I’ve ever worked a lot with my strengths. I have a lot of power, but I’ve always fought from the outside, tried to take guys down, and it got really predictable. So we’ve been working a lot on moving in and out, throwing strikes, moving out, so I wouldn’t say that I have to take him down, but do I have the advantage from the top? For sure.”
The November 20th, Monson, Emelianenko bout will be hosted by Moscow’s Olympic Arena and will be available via pay-per-view.