A report from Combat Press says that sources close to the situation have stated that Emelianenko has signed a deal with the UFC, and may appear at UFC 193. This would mark Fedor’s first UFC fight after 39 fights in other organizations. No other outlets have confirmed this information, so it should be taken strictly as a rumor.
Known to many simply as Fedor, the decorated heavyweight mixed martial artist has been out of the cage since a summer 2012 victory over Pedro Rizzo. Fedor has been linked to negotiations with the UFC several times, with conversations usually going south.
The UFC is looking to load up UFC 193 as much as possible in an effort to fill up the 56,000+ seat Etihad Stadium in Melbourne, Australia. The show is headlined by a Women’s Bantamweight Championship fight between titleholder Ronda Rousey and challenger Holly Holm. New Zealander Mark Hunt is also booked for the show, set for a rematch of his classic 2013 throw down with Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva. The UFC is hoping to break their own attendance record of 55,724 for UFC 129 in April 2011.
It’s likely that the UFC would give Fedor a winnable fight in an effort to continuously capitalize on his name. With the event taking place in Australia, it’s quite possible that an unranked heavyweight like Soa “The Hulk” Palelei could be a suitable opponent.
Fedor was also briefly attached to a super fight with former WWE and UFC Champion Brock Lesnar. According to UFC President Dana White, the two were set to fight in a huge main event in Dallas, Texas for a stadium show. Lesnar, under contract to WWE at the time, had accepted the fight, while Fedor mulled the offer over. After the death of Emelianenko’s father, Fedor instead decided that retirement was the best option.
Fedor announced his return to mixed martial arts earlier this summer, and rumors have swirled about a possible landing point. Monday night, Fedor posted a photo to his Instagram page, saying that he was on his way to the UFC. UFC President Dana White responded with a simple wink in the comment section.
Dana White has held contempt for M-1 Global President Vadim Finkelstein insisting that the UFC should co-promote events with M-1 Global during previous negotiations with Fedor. White blasted Finkelstein in interviews, blaming him for the breakdown during conversations.
“That dude must f–king go to bed every night and lay down and just motherf— himself until he falls asleep. Seriously. he must. I don’t even know how it’s possible how he couldn’t.”
Now Fedor is free and clear of any previous contractual obligations that would have required co-promotion, and it appears to have done a world of good. Despite his level of competition, Fedor has returned during a really hot period for MMA, and both sides are looking to capitalize.
[Photo by Tomokazu Kozawa/ Getty Images Sport]