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Fedor Emelianenko explains why he chose Bellator over UFC

During a press conference to promote the MMA Super Cup in Russia, Fedor Emelianenko explained why he opted to sign with Bellator over the UFC. 

Fedor Emelianenko, Scott Coker Esther Lin

Last month, Bellator announced an intriguing heavyweight match-up between Fedor Emelianenko and UFC veteran Matt Mitrione. For those who held out hope that the legendary fighter would finally sign with the UFC, it served as the latest bitter reminder of the longstanding feud between the two entities.

Emelianenko, who was present at a press conference to promote the Russian MMA Super Cup on Wednesday, delved into the recent negotiation process and explained his decision to sign with Bellator in the end.

“We had been negotiating with several organizations, but opted for Bellator, as the head of the organization, Scott Coker - an honest man, honest, we already have experience with,” Emelianenko explained to Lenta.ru. “We were interested in his proposal.”

The former PRIDE FC heavyweight champion also commented on the latest round of failed negotiations with the UFC.

“Yes, this option was there,” Fedor added. “I was offered a [contract] from UFC, but it did not suit me. We have had disagreements, in particular about matters of promotion.”

Emelianenko previously referred to UFC contracts as “oppressive and draconian” because of the restrictive measures placed within them. While the Russian did not explain what he meant by “matters of promotions” it is likely that issues such as sponsorship and PPV revenue splits factored into the discussion.

Emelianenko vs. Mitrione is scheduled to take place on February 18 in San Jose, California.