When retired MMA legend Fedor Emelianenko announced his return to the sport back in July, fans immediately speculated — where would he go?
Will “The Last Emperor” return under the wing of Bellator CEO Scott Coker? Fedor and Coker have enjoyed a good relationship in the past, including headlining shows for Strikeforce. Why not? (As it turns out, no — Coker says he isn’t interested.)
How about a match against Roger Gracie or Brandon Vera in ONE Championship, to crown their first heavyweight champion? (As it turns out, ONE has got another idea for their inaugural heavyweight title match: Vera vs. Chi Lewis-Parry.)
Will he be involved with his old bosses at M-1 Global? It’s said that Fedor’s demand to co-promote with M-1 ended negotiations with the UFC years ago.
So… what is it?
Well, the truth is we don’t know yet.
Sure, at least one MMA media outlet, Combat Press, reported Fedor officially signed to the UFC yesterday. But Vadim Finkelchtein, the Russian fighter’s longtime friend, adviser, and former manager, says that’s not the case.
“Not yet,” Finkelchtein said to Ariel Helwani of MMA Fighting when asked if Emelianenko has signed a new deal. “At this moment, we are just talking.”
Finkelchtein offered no timetable for Fedor’s return — only mentioning the former PRIDE champion is “training hard.”