Fedor Emelianenko returned to MMA in late 2015 from a self-imposed retirement a few years ago, defeating Jaideep Singh and Fabio Maldonado, but his biggest test will come in the form of UFC veteran Matt Mitrione at Bellator 172, a promotion the legendary heavyweight signed with due to a great past relationship.
“We had been negotiating with several organizations, but opted for Bellator, as the head of the organization, Scott Coker - an honest man, honest, we already have experience with,” Emelianenko explained to Lenta.ru. “We were interested in his proposal.”
Emelianenko was also offered a deal by the UFC, but there was some things about the promotion that didn’t sit well with the former PRIDE Heavyweight Champion.
“Yes, this option was there,” Fedor added. “I was offered a [contract] from UFC, but it did not suit me. We have had disagreements, in particular about matters of promotion.”
In an ironic twist of fate, Emelianenko will be fighting Mitrione at the SAP Center in San Jose, California and that is the location where Emelianenko was submitted by former UFC Heavyweight Champion Fabricio Werdum in Strikeforce, it was his first loss in over a decade.
Bellator 172 takes place on Saturday, February 18 from the SAP Center in San Jose, California with Fedor Emelianenko and Matt Mitrione headlining.