Fedor Emelianenko, who is widely considered as the best heavyweight in MMA history, is coming out of retirement, but he won’t be fighting for Bellator.
Some believed that Fedor signing with Bellator was a no-brainer, given his history with Bellator CEO Scott Coker in the now-defunct Strikeforce. On top of that, Fedor has made several promotional appearances for the organization, including the one he’s scheduled to make on September 18, where he’ll be joining MMA legends Randy Couture, Royce Gracie, and Frank Shamrock for a Bellator fan-fest.
Even though Fedor has made, and is scheduled to make more promotional appearances for Bellator, Scott Coker told MMA Junkie on Thursday that he’s not interested in bringing Fedor into the organization as an active fighter.
“We’ve had conversations, but not about fighting. I just felt Fedor is a great legend. He’s on the Mount Rushmore of MMA. We had a great time doing the fights together with Fedor in Strikeforce… I felt like we’ve done it already with Fedor.”
Some would think that if Fedor isn’t going to sign with Bellator, he’s going to sign with the UFC. But, given the combative history between Fedor and the world’s biggest mixed-martial-arts organization, it isn’t a guarantee that he can finally agree to terms with the UFC.
On the other hand, there have been rumors that Fedor is close to a deal with the UFC, but those rumors have not been confirmed. Fedor did publicly state that he is in negotiations with the UFC, but he didn’t give any indication as to how they were going, or if the two sides were close to a deal.
If Fedor ends up signing with the UFC, it won’t mean that Bellator won’t be interested in him down the road, as Scott Coker said that he wants to see how Fedor does upon his return to the sport before he makes him an offer to come in and fight.
“Let’s let him come back and see how it works out for him, and then maybe we’ll have him fight a couple years down the line, or next year, or whatever. The door is open, but I felt like at this point, Bellator is kind of on a little bit of a roll here. Would he add a lot of value? Yes. But we’re just going to sit back and see what happens.”
Fedor, who will be turning 39 next month, probably doesn’t have many fights left in him. So, Coker’s “sit back and see what happens” probably won’t land him Fedor in the future, unless the MMA legend is interested in fighting well into his 40s.
[Image via Esther Lin / Getty Images]