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Russian promoter: Alexander Emelianenko was the victim of 'political persecution'

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Russian MMA promoter Oleg Rajewski offered his thoughts on Alexander Emelianenko's 4.5-year jail sentence for sexual assault.

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On Tuesday afternoon, the Simonovsky Court in Moscow announced the verdict in the Alexander Emelianenko sexual assault case, which saw the heavyweight recieve a 4-and-a-half year sentence and a fine of $50,000 ($1000 USD).

Given that the victim's attorney had requested a five-year sentence for the trauma that his client had undergone, the prosecution was satisfied with the sentence handed down by the jury. However, several other stakeholders in Alexander's future, including famous Russian promoter Oleg Rajewski were left in disarray.

Rajewski, who owns and operates Coliseum Fighting Championships, the promotion that hosted Emelianenko's last professional fight in January 2015, was one of the few in uproar about the former Pride fighter's sentence and even referred to it as "political persecution."

"The fact is that there is pressure on the investigation," Rajewski told Soviet Sports. "That is a fact. If the process was quiet, Alexander would have probably already gotten a suspended sentence. We see that everything was done to put Alexander in jail.

"We want to punish and educate. Anyone can accuse anther of something, but there must be some evidence to support it."

Oleg furthered his explanation by adding that the victim, Polina Stepanova, was dragged into the situation when she had no intention of providing a statement.

"I think she herself had no intention to write a statement, but it was recommended. A lawyer who previously worked for the businessman Sergei Polonsky defended the simple girl. We think that everything is done against Alexander."

Stepanova, who took part in the yearlong proceedings, revealed that she was threatened numerously to retract her statement.

"During the investigation, I received threats from the fighter," said Stepanova (h/t tofight.ru). The first call was on Skype in December 2014, when his friend said that I would get a pen in the ribs. A month ago, I received a phone call, which said they would give me money if I changed my testimony. If I did not, then they would find my child and me. They said they knew where my son was."

Ultimately, Stepanova is "satisfied" with the verdict but Elemianenko plans to appeal the court's decision.

"We do not agree with the verdict and will appeal it," said Emelianenko's official representation. "It is difficult to say anything about the situation in general. We need to digest the information and then consider further action. Those who would like to see Alexander behind bars made it so."