Bellator MMA has done rather well promoting Russian stars over the years. Following back-to-back events at the Mohegan Sun Arena this weekend, promotion President Scott Coker addressed the future of two of them: Fedor Emelianenko, and new light heavyweight champ Vadim Nemkov.
Nemkov (12-2) won the promotion’s 205lb title just last month with an impressive finish of Ryan Bader. With Phil Davis earning a win over Lyoto Machida at Bellator 245 this past Friday, it would appear he’s in the race for a title shot. But nothing, it seems, is set in stone.
In fact, there’s a chance Davis could instead welcome Corey Anderson to the promotion. Anderson, who parted ways with the UFC to join Bellator earlier this year, does not yet have a debut date set.
“That’s definitely a possibility. I haven’t really talked to my guys about it, but I think that’s definitely a possibility,” Coker said during a post-fight press conference following Bellator 246 on Saturday.
Coker admitted that he hasn’t spoken to new light heavyweight champ Nemkov since he returned to Russia following his title win. However the desire is to have him compete soon if possible. “I think you saw a star being born here at the Mohegan Sun on that night,” the promoter noted.
Then there’s the legendary Fedor Emelianenko. “The Last Emperor” was supposed to be on a retirement tour, three fights, the first of which came against Rampage Jackson last year. That’s still the plan as it stands, but the time table has been pushed back.
“Fedor has two fights left, and both of them will most likely be out of the country. I say that with reserve, because you guys know the situation is hard to navigate around, and every time we try to go outside somewhere, it’s challenging,” Coker explained, noting the difficulties the ongoing pandemic presents.
“Fedor, the plan was to do three fights. We hit Japan on New Year’s Eve last year, or the day before New Year’s Eve. Then we want him to fight in Europe at some point, then we want him to fight in Moscow, to be his retirement fight,” continued Coker. “We have two fights left, and we’ll figure it out. It’s going to be sometime in 2021.”