For over a year, Bellator has been zoning in on a specific location for the last ride of “The Last Emperor” Fedor Emelianenko – but those plans are no longer.
Following the conclusion Saturday of Bellator 276, Coker revealed in a news conference the promotion got approval to hold the MMA legend’s final bout in Moscow’s Red Square. However, the war between Russia and Ukraine has thrown a monkey wrench in those plans and an audible be pulled.
“It’s definitely not going to happen in Moscow this year,” Coker said after Bellator 276. “We’re not going to do Fedor’s retirement fight there for obvious reasons. We will be looking for an alternative site at some point.”
A Red Square retirement for Emelianenko was approved by Kremlin officials approximately one year ago – with an event targeted for a mid-2022 timeline, a person with knowledge told MMA Junkie.
Coker didn’t go into further detail about what the revised options for Emelianenko’s final bout could entail, but said he plans to speak to the heavyweight fighter during Bellator 277 fight week mid-April in San Jose.
“We had an amazing show planned in Moscow. I don’t even mind telling you guys this, but we originally had approval to do the fight in Red Square, and it was going to be just a great sendoff for the G.O.A.T., in my opinion,” Coker said. “But now we have to pivot and create something else that’s great and find another venue and find another amazing site, because he deserves to have a great sendoff. We just don’t know exactly where yet.”
Bellator 276 results: Adam Borics outpoints Mads Burnell in high-paced, five-round striking battle
Bellator 276 live and official results
Emelianenko (40-6 MMA, 4-2 BMMA) turns 46 in September. His “retirement tour” has been elongated due to the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak. With original plans for a three-fight tour, Emelianenko revised it to two when COVID continued to delay Bellator going international. In October, Emelianenko finally returned from a near two-year absence when he knocked out Tim Johnson 100 seconds into their Bellator 269 headliner in Moscow.
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