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US-based Bellator promotion may set sights on hiring MMA’s ‘Last Emperor’

On February 4, Fedor Emelianenko was defeated by the American fighter in the 3rd minute of the opening round

MOSCOW, February 6. /TASS/. American mixed martial arts promotion Bellator might be ready to offer a job to Russia’s world-renowned MMA (mixed martial arts) heavyweight veteran Fedor Emelianenko, a source in the organization told TASS on Monday.

On February 4, Emelianenko held his last bout ever facing off against Ryan Bader (31 wins; 7 defeats) in Los Angeles, California, and was defeated by the American fighter in the 3rd minute of the opening round.

According to the source there would certainly be a job offer for the Russian fighter with Bellator, but the details should be specified because Emelianenko, who also serves as the president of the Russia’s MMA (mixed martial arts) Union, is in charge of a huge staff of his own.

The source added that Scott Cocker, who is the head of the US-based Bellator promotion, would be in contact with Emelianenko in the days to come.

Emelianenko, 46, boasted an official MMA record of 40 wins (16 by KO/TKO; 15 by submission and nine by decision) and six defeats (five by KO/TKO; one by submission) before his final career bout against Ryan Bader over the past weekend in Los Angeles.

In mid-June 2022, Emelianenko was elected the president of Russia’s MMA Union. He secured the majority of votes against his closest contender in the elections, Radmir Gabdullin, who had been at the helm of the Russian MMA Union since 2018.

‘The Last Emperor’ Fedor Emelianenko

The MMA star had temporarily retired between 2012 and 2015. During that hiatus, Emelianenko held the post of the Russian MMA Union’s president and also served from November 2012 as an advisor to then-Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko.

Following his 2015 comeback, Emelianenko had eight bouts, defeating India’s Jaideep Singh, then clinching another victory over Brazil’s Fabio Maldonado. In June 2017, he lost by TKO to US fighter Matt Mitrione. In April 2018, he defeated US heavyweight Frank Mir with a KO win in the first round and in October 2018, he enjoyed a TKO triumph over American fighter Chael Sonnen. In January 2019, he lost by TKO (punches) to Ryan ‘Darth’ Bader of the United States and then knocked out US fighter Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson in December 2019.

In September 2022, Emelianenko defeated 35-year-old Timothy Johnson of the United States with a KO win in the opening round of their Bellator 269 tournament fight in Moscow.

Born on September 28, 1976, in the town of Rubezhnoye in Ukraine’s southeast, Emelianenko fought his way to the top earning numerous titles throughout his career.

He is the MMA Pride Fighting Championships Heavyweight Champion (2003-2007), FIAS World Combat Sambo Championship Heavyweight Champion 2002, 2005, 2007 and Russian Judo Federation National Championship bronze medalist (1998, 1999).

In 2009, the esteemed American sports magazine, Sports Illustrated, named him "the top MMA fighter of the decade."