Oh, Scott Coker. You sly devil, you. The Bellator MMA president previously stated they were not in the running to sign free agent Fedor Emelianenko (pictured), but the UFC’s biggest rival was in fact in the mix to partner with the most decorated heavyweight in MMA history.
During Saturday’s “Bellator 142: Dynamite 1” event, former PRIDE FC president Nobuyuki Sakakibara announced Emelianenko will headline their New Year’s Eve card in Japan against a yet-to-be named opponent.
Bellator will help Sakakibara fill out the RIZIN lineup and Spike will broadcast the show.
“We are thrilled to join forces with Nobuyuki Sakakibara and our partner Bellator President Scott Coker to give MMA fans a big reason to celebrate this New Year’s Eve – Fedor fighting FREE on Spike!” said Spike TV president Kevin Kay.
Although not confirmed, Emelianenko’s deal is reportedly just with Sakaibara and not with Bellator nor Spike.
After Coker announced they hadn’t had any discussions with Emelianenko about coming on board, despite the fact he had been helping Bellator with various promotional activities over the past two years, it was believed “The Last Emperor” was destined to finally sign with the UFC, the planet’s premier mixed martial arts promotion that he had spurned at least three times prior.
In the end, it appears Emelianenko felt the most comfortable going back to where his illustrious career took off.
Emelianenko retired in June 2012 after putting Pedro Rizzo to sleep in merely 84 seconds.
Emelianenko made his claim to fame for his vast accomplishments in PRIDE in the early-mid 2000′s. At one stage during his illustrious career, Emelianenko had rattled off 27 consecutive Ws.
The Russian had difficulties collecting wins in America under Strikeforce’s banner. After posting a victory over Brett Rogers in his promotional debut, Emelianenko was upset by Fabricio Werdum in his next outing. He was then mauled by Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva and then Dan Henderson had him planking on the canvas in his last Strikeforce bout.
He snapped his three-fight losing skid by posting an uneventful unanimous decision victory over Jeff Monson. He followed that up by quickly disposing of Satoshi Ishii in Japan.
Now 38, Emelianenko wants to give it one final go before leaving for good. He recently emerged looking buffer than ever, so he is certainly taking this comeback seriously.
He owns an impressive 34-4 (1 N/C) professional record.