Fedor Emelienenko Relapses, Can’t Quit MMA Cold-Turkey

Fightland Blog

By Fightland Staff

Photo by Josh Hedges/Forza LLC

Fedor Emelienenko began his career 14 years ago. He won 33 out of his next 35 fights, cementing himself as the greatest Russian mixed martial artist ever, and one of the most talented fighters to ever play the game.

Fast forward to 2010, and the now aging Fedor suffered his first losing streak: three Strikeforce bouts in a row against Fabricio Werdum, Antonio Silva, and Dan Henderson. It looked like The Last Emperor had finished his run.

Fedor went on to fight three more times—twice in Russia, and once in Japan—against lower-tiered fighters Jeff Monson, Satoshi Ishii, and Pedro Rizzo. Although he won those last three matches, the Russian legend finally hung up his gloves and retired in 2012.

In retirement he served as the President of Russia's MMA Union and Presidential Council on Physical Fitness & Sports. Seems fitting, but like a plethora of other ex-professional athletes struggling to quit their sport cold-turkey, he couldn't sit still.

Today, Fedor confirmed what his manager had reported earlier in the week—that he’s training again, and ready to return to the sport.

Officially, Fedor first gave word in an interview with Russian website Union MMA, translated by BloodyElbow.com.

"For every athlete it is very important to be able to engage in their favorite thing: give all the best in training, performing in competitions, defending the honor of the motherland," he said.

"During my time at the Ministry, I was able to work on the development of the sport, work closely with the presidents of sports federations, recognize the problems from within the sport, and as far as possible, try to solve them. But now I feel that it is time to return to the ring."

"I was able to recover and heal old injuries. The last three years I have maintained physical form, but this level is not enough to go into battle, therefore recently I started intensive training. We have assembled a team of versatile coaches and athletes who will help me in the training process"

"There is still work to do to prepare to leave the ring. Negotiations are underway with promotions.”

It was long considered that Fedor was the greatest athlete the sport has ever seen. We can’t help but think about Michael Jordan, donning the number 45 instead of his famous 23 when he returned to basketball in 1995. It just… won’t go that well. But hey, it will be cool to watch do his thing again. Won’t it?


Check out these related stories:

Five Years on From the Fall of Fedor

Becoming Fedor: Stepping Out of the Shadows

Remembering That Glorious Day Russian MMA Fans Booed Vladimir Putin