Fedor Emelianenko recently set foot on North American soil to reminisce with Scott Coker at Bellator's weekend event. While in attendance at Bellator 135, the former Pride star expressed his feelings towards Dana White during the infamous isolated showdown between the UFC brass and Russian fight promoter Vadim Finkelchtein in 2009.
The soft-spoken Russian recently exchanged pleasantries with MMA news reporter Dave Deibert during his brief stint on American shores, where he discussed a number of hot topics spanning throughout his illustrious career. The 38-year-old revealed his most memorable fight(s), his unwavering passion for the sport of MMA and his gripes with UFC president Dana White. When quizzed on his enigmatic meeting with Dana White and Lorenzo Fertitta on "The Island," Fedor claimed "Dana White invited me to fight for UFC but he wanted me on his terms only."
Fedor's reference to Dana's "terms" is no doubt the UFC's exclusive contract desires posing a serious problem for Vadim Finkelchtein's highly ambitious M-1 cross-promotion bargaining chip. Despite promo-guru White offering Emelianenko "so much money", the M-1 Global representative shunned the opportunity to compete in the UFC. Since contract negotiations between the two promotional bodies turned sour, the Sambo competitor plummeted down the heavyweight rankings in 2010.
After an entire decade of dominance in the combat sports arena, Fedor officially retired from prize-fighting competition in 2012 after his emphatic fall from grace. Despite being absent from professional competition, Fedor is still a prominent figure in the mixed martial arts realm, regularly training and honing his craft inside the gym while also aiding Scott Coker in his Bellator endeavors:
"Of course I still follow the sport. It’s a very big part of my life. Right now even though I’m retired, I still train, I still spar. I advocate the sport of MMA as a sport not just on the professional level but those who are just coming into it. I’ve had an extensive, long, colourful career with a lot of highs and lows. I do still enjoy watching the sport and, of course, I support them very much. He (Scott Coker) invited me and I’m here to support his beginnings with Bellator. I know they show Bellator on Russian TV back home, which is one of the reasons why I’m very familiar with the Russian fighters who are currently fighting, who are currently participating in Bellator fights."
Perhaps we'll see much more of Fedor Emelianenko at future Bellator events, just not in the cage.
Transcription via Vancouver Sun