There’s been a notable quest from Bellator’s lineups since the company got back up and running: Fedor Emelianenko.
The legendary former longtime PRIDE heavyweight champion turned 44 in September. Before the worldwide coronavirus pandemic hit, Bellator president Scott Coker had talked about a “farewell tour” for Emelianenko, who has two fights left on his contract.
“I really wanted Fedor to fight his retirement fight not in front of just the officials and have the staff and be on a closed environment in a bubble,” Coker recently told MMA Junkie. “I really want Fedor to finish his career in front of 30,000 people in Moscow, to be honest, Bellator MMA’s first fight in Russia. Do a fight in Moscow. For him, the prodigal son has returned. Fedor is the greatest fighter of all-time, and he’s now coming home to retire and put his gloves up and hang it up to retire.”
Vaccines are coming online around much of the developed world, lending hope the pandemic will soon be behind us and life will resume back at something resembling normalcy.
“I’m hoping that the vaccine will start fixing the situation and we can start bringing in crowds,” Coker said. “But to me, I feel we’ve waited so long for Fedor to fight, hoping that the pandemic would thin out, and now that it’s getting close and I can see light at the end of the tunnel for the pandemic to go away, I really want to wait and to do these fights in a proper stadium, especially the one we do in Moscow. I want to do something very big for him, because to me, it’s like he’s the king, and the king is returning from the battlefield.”
Such a show would be not just a farewell to Emelianenko, but a showcase for the Russian talent Bellator has amassed.
“Not only would he fight, but all the guys that we have, like (light heavyweight champion Vadim) Nemkov and like (Anatoly) Tokov and all those great fighters from Moscow that are fighting for Bellator, they will also fight on the card, and we’ll do maybe a ‘Russia vs. the world’ match there and you’ll see some fighters from Europe,” Coker said. “We’ll have a great event.”