Frank Trigg says Fedor Emelianenko's management was turning down replacement opponents left and right.
Last weekend at Bellator 172, a fight between Matt Mitrione and Emelianenko was canceled when Mitrione pulled due to complications with a kidney stone. On Fightful MMA's podcast, Trigg, who was at the event as a referee, told host "Showdown Joe" Ferraro about Chael Sonnen being one of the possible replacements for Mitrione. According to Trigg, Sonnen was ready to fight.
"Chael Sonnen was there and working broadcast. His medicals were already in, he was already approved by the state of California, because he had fought in California the month prior at The Forum. Everything was clean for him, he didn't get hurt, he would have done it. Chael was like 'Yes 100% I'm in." Chael is one of those guys, if you call him out, you're fighting Chael Sonnen, that's what's gonna happen. If you taunt him, you're gonna fight him because he's not gonna say no to anybody," said Trigg.
Emelianenko did not fight on the card, as it turned out. Trigg says multiple opponents were offered but the Emelianenko management team did not accept any.
"Fedor was offered Oli Thompson who also fought on the card, he said 'no', theres a couple other people he was offered and said 'no,'" said Trigg. "Fedor always has managers that get in the way, so you're not talking to Fedor if he wants to fight these guys or not, they're going to the management team," added Trigg.
Trigg would say Emelianenko had nothing to lose at this point of his career and should have taken the fights. He speculated Emelianenko (or his management) thinks of Mitrione as a perfect stylistic matchup to break Emelianenko's losing streak. He believes turning the fights down puts Emelianenko in a bad light.
Trigg appears weekly on Thursday on Fightful MMA podcast.