Fedor Emelianenko returned to form against Tim Johnson atop the Bellator 269 card on Saturday.
The Russian legend, considered by many the greatest heavyweight of all time, scored a blistering knockout of opponent Tim Johnson, that left the American staring up at the lights. The fact that it came at home, in Moscow, in Bellator’s first trip to Russia, made the outcome resonate that much more.
On his way to the cage on Saturday, Johnson chose to walk out to “Real American” — a track best known for its ties to Hulk Hogan, and his patriotic American pro wrestling gimmick. Asked whether he thought Johnson was trying to get under his skin, or play some mental games by sparking up the old U.S.A. vs. Russia rivalry, Fedor admitted that he hadn’t actually heard the song.
“I didn’t hear, and I was not listening to this song because I was standing back stage,” he told Cageside Press following the event on Saturday. “But frankly speaking, I would like to say that, it’s really not desirable in sports to organize some America vs. Russia, or some [political] thing.”
When people try to take advantage of a situation like the US-Russia political tension of old, and use them for other purposes, “it’s hard to pay for them later,” Fedor added. The price for it, noted the Russian, “is very expensive.”
When it comes to whether he’ll continue on in his career, with one fight left on his Bellator deal, “I will answer this question tomorrow,” Fedor said with a laugh. But it seems he’d rather fight in the U.S. than at home in Russia next time out.
“It’s much easier for me to perform in America. I don’t have such huge, huge attention,” said Fedor, before adding “or maybe I do get that attention, but all the events are strictly planned. Here, at home, all our camp and our preparation for the fight, they took place under the supervision of media, journalists, and so on.”
Watch the full Bellator 269 virtual post-fight press conference with Fedor Emelianenko above. More coverage from the event can be found below. Additional translation provided to Cageside Press by Julia Gayvoronskaya.