Early this morning, following the epic Bellator 222 fight card at Madison Square Garden, Bellator MMA President Scott Coker told media that he has signed former PRIDE FC heavyweight champion Fedor Emelianenko to another fight deal.
Emelianenko (38-6, 1 NC) has signed an exclusive multi-fight contract extension to finish his career inside the Bellator cage. Coker referred to it as a “Farewell tour.”
“I am pleased that we were able to sign Fedor, the greatest heavyweight of all time, to a new contract extension,” Bellator President Scott Coker said in a release that followed the official announcement. “He is someone that I consider a friend in this business and am even more pleased that he has decided to finish his storied career with Bellator. There are exciting matchups for him here in Bellator that I know will appeal to his fans from the past, as well as new fans from his recent run in the tournament. As his time in the sport winds down, I am happy to see him close out his career on his own terms.”
A former PRIDE Heavyweight Champion and PRIDE 2004 Heavyweight World Grand Prix Champion, Emelianenko is often referred to as “The GOAT” by fans around the world. With a career resume that stands as one of the most impressive in the history of the sport that includes victories over Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira, Mirko Cro Cop, Mark Hunt, Mark Coleman and Andrei Arlovski, to name a few. With 29 career victories ending via finish, the punching power and world-class Sambo of the stoic Russian can always result in yet another accolade in his illustrious career.
Emelianenko’s return to the Bellator cage is yet to be determined, but he is expected to return to action later this year.
At the press conference, MMA journalist Keith Shillan of Cagesidepress.com, asked Coker if Josh Barnett might be a potential opponent for Fedor as the two heavyweight have unfinished business.
The two legends of MMA were supposed to fight at Affliction 3 in August 2009. The fight was officially pulled 10 days before the fight by the California State Athletic Commission after Barnett tested positive for anabolic steroids for a second time. The event and Affliction Entertainment itself was cancelled July 24, 2009 as a result.
Close to 10 years later, the two still have never fought one another.
Coker responded to Shillan, stating that it is possible that Fedor could fight Barnett, but also that another possibility is former UFC light heavyweight champion Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson. Coker did not have any other details as of yet but did say that it is looking like Fedor will fight for Bellator later this year.