California businessman Art Davie, who in 1993, together with other investors founded the promotion of the UFC, told how in the mid-90s tried to organize a performance of the triple Olympic champion in Greco-Roman wrestling Alexander Karelin.
“I wanted to invite Alexander Karelin in the UFC, I talked to the brothers Gracie about it. They knew him by the nickname “the Experiment”. That was his name with us. It was believed that it was designed by Russian scientists. I was told that I can’t bring Karelin in the UFC because of the policy and will not be able to afford it financially, it will cost me more than Mike Tyson. That’s what I was told, ‘ said Davey in an interview with “Sport-Express”.
“The Russian government wants money for it. So I was told. But I was told that I would have had to pay the oligarchs who have controlled the sport in Russia. They were capitalists who wanted to earn a lot of money – right? So you’re right, this was no longer the old Soviet Union, it was mother Russia, but I was told that people who worked with Karelin and took control of him, has requested a lot of money for it. And I wanted to get him.”
We will remind, earlier Art Davie called Oleg Taktarov first UFC champion from Russia.