Fedor Emelianenko, a Russian MMA fighter, was questioned Tuesday by FBI agents that knocked on his hotel door before the Bellator MMA heavyweight fight between him and Frank Mir. Emelianenko’s manager, Jerry Millen, did not discuss the details of the conversation, but said they spoke with Fedor “for a few minutes, spoke to me, very cool guys, and that’s all I can really say about it…Hundred percent, kind of surprised.” According to Yahoo Sports, the fighter has connections with Trump, Cohen, and Putin.
Emelianenko’s connection with Trump is due to Affliction Entertainment, which was a fight league that Trump had an ownership stake in. Emelianenko was part of Affliction Entertainment, which was Trump’s short-lived attempt to dabble in MMA. Cohen, Trump’s personal lawyer, was Affliction Entertainment’s chief operating officer. The MMA fighter’s connection with Putin is traced back to Putin’s attendance at his fights in the past, and the two have been photographed together.
Currently, Cohen is under investigation by authorities for two separate reasons: one, for his part in paying off Stormy Daniels for her silence regarding an affair with Trump. Secondly, he’s being investigated as part of Mueller’s Russian probe and interference in the election. The Stormy Daniels case is on a three-month delay, and the federal judge hinted that he will be indicted. The reason for the delay is because of an overlap with the Russian investigation, reported the New York Times. It’s unclear why the FBI met with the MMA fighter, but it could be because of his past involvement with Affliction Entertainment.
As far as Trump’s history with the MMA and Emelianenko goes, it can be traced back to as late as 2001. Back then, the UFC was unable to secure good venues for their fights. However, Trump offered prestigious locations for UFC events, including the Trump Taj Mahal in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Dana White, one of the owners of UFC, said that “arenas around the world refused to host our events. Nobody took us seriously. Nobody. Except Donald Trump,” detailed Bleacher Report.
In 2008, Affliction Entertainment was founded as an offshoot of Affliction Clothing, meant to offer pay-per-view fights. Most of the funding went toward paying Fedor Emelianenko and Tim Sylva, the two reportedly making $300,000 and $800,000 per fight, respectively. During a press conference on Affliction Entertainment, Trump said that he bought a significant stake in the company for promotion and securing top talent. But even with all the money and hype, the first event, Affliction: Banned, was only mildly successful. The second event, Affliction: Day of Reckoning, had even less success. The third event was canceled, and Affliction Entertainment was no more.