Vladimir Voronov — longtime coach of legendary MMA fighter Fedor Emelianenko — has passed away.
Emelianenko confirmed the news on his social media accounts, adding that Voronov was more than just a coach to his athletes.
“My coach Vladimir Mikhailovich Voronov has died,” Emelianenko stated on his Instagram account (h/t RT Sports). “From childhood, Vladimir Mikhailovich was part of the family, a demanding mentor. He was always there in difficult and happy moments of my life. Vladimir Mikhailovich was not only a coach, but also a father to many athletes. He raised champions, strong in spirit, believed in young guys and helped them find their way in life.
I ask for your prayers for the newly departed Vladimir. My most sincere condolences to the family and friends of Vladimir Mikhailovich.”
Voronov coached Emelianenko throughout the majority of his illustrious career, including his stint as the most dominant heavyweight fighter on the planet during his days at PRIDE and Affliction. Under his tutelage, Emelianenko went undefeated between 2000 and 2010 and and captured the PRIDE heavyweight title.
Here is a video of a Sambo fight between Fedor and his coach:
Various other key figures in Russian MMA, including M-1 Global founder Vadim Finkelchtein, also expressed their sadness as to Voronov’s passing.
“This news came as a shock to me. I knew Vladimir Mikhailovich for a very long time. He was truly dedicated to his coaching profession. He brought up dozens of famous athletes and was not just a mentor to them, he was like a father to them. It is a pity that our sport has lost such a person.”