Heavyweight great Fedor Emelianenko will enter the ring at least once more. | Photo: Dave Mandel
We have not seen the last of Fedor Emelianenko.
Despite speculation that his July 30 knockout loss to Dan Henderson may have spelt the end of his career, a Monday release from Emelianenko’s management at M-1 Global revealed that the Russian heavyweight is not done yet.
“We consulted with Fedor and it was decided that he should not leave the sport in this way,” stated M-1 Global President and Co-Founder Vadim Finkelstein. “We want to organize a fight for Fedor in Russia and have already begun working in this direction. If everything goes as planned, we will produce a card in Moscow or St. Petersburg sometime in the fall, with Fedor as the main event.”
No opponent was named for the bout, which would mark Emelianenko’s first in-ring appearance in his home country since April 2007, when he submitted Matt Lindland under the Bodog Fight banner in St. Petersburg.
On Aug. 4, UFC President Dana White announced that Emelianenko had been cut by Zuffa, LLC, subsidiary Strikeforce following his third consecutive defeat. However, according to M-1 officials, the 34-year-old former Pride Fighting Championships kingpin was never under contract with Strikeforce and instead remains tied to American premium cable channel Showtime through an unspecified deal.
Emelianenko’s Russian return may not be his only homecoming in 2011, either. Per Finkelstein, M-1 is currently “working with our Japanese contacts to organize a New Year’s Eve event in Japan that Fedor would participate in as well.” Between 2003 and 2007, Emelianenko competed in Japan every Dec. 31, his most recent trip ending in an armbar submission win over South Korean giant Hong Man Choi.