After Fedor Emelianenko hinted his illustrious career would come to an end following his convincing loss to Antonio Silva this past Saturday, Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker and M-1 Global president Vadim Finkelchtein believed it wasn’t the last fans had seen of “The Last Emperor.”
However, their motives for wanting Emelianenko to return are obvious. Watching their biggest meal ticket unceremoniously exit stage left isn’t the most effective means towards chipping away at the UFC’s overwhelming monopoly on the sport.
So on Tuesday night when Fedor announced there was plenty of gas left in his tank, some suggested Coker and Finkelchtein – and possibly a handful of Showtime executives – must have whispered sweet nothings in the Russian’s ear to ensure they got their guy back.
Nyet, says Evgeni Kogan. M-1 Global’s director of operations claimed only one man calls the shots when it comes to the most decorated heavyweight in MMA history – contrary to popular belief.
“He’s hungry and wants to come back soon,” Kogan told 5thRound.com. “[He made the decision to return] on his own. He feels that he still has something to prove, even more now.
“I think we see him back like his old self.”
The 34-year-old was issued a 90-day medical suspension immediately following his loss to “Bifgfoot.” Regardless, Coker stated at the “Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Silva” post-fight press conference Emelianenko could serve as an alternate in the Heavyweight Grand Prix somewhere down the line.
It was a sentiment Emelianenko echoed upon returning to Russia.
Coker told the MMA Hour on Monday he could face the loser of the quarterfinal matchup between Alistair Overeem and Fabricio Werdum in April.