Bellator MMA have been working on Fedor Emelianenko’s retirement fight for a while now, with a date sometime this Summer likely.
The plan all along has been to host that final fight in Moscow, where Fedor knocked out Tim Johnson last year. With the Russian invasion of neighbouring Ukraine, bringing about condemnation from across the globe and numerous sanctions and travel bans, however, a Moscow date is no longer in the cards.
Asked about a contingency plan, Bellator President Scott Coker told Cageside Press during the Bellator 276 press conference on Saturday that the promotion would be looking at alternative destinations.
“It’s definitely not going to happen in Moscow this year. We’re not going to do Fedor’s retirement fight there, for obvious reasons,” Coker stated. “We’ll be looking for an alternative site at some point. We’re going to sit down with Fedor when he comes to the San Jose fight card, and see what he’s thinking.”
Coker then revealed the unique concept the promotion had put together for Fedor’s last stand.
“We had an amazing show planned in Moscow. I don’t even mind telling you guys this, but we originally had approval to do the fight in Red Square, and it was going to be just a great send-off for the GOAT in my opinion,” Coker said. “But now, we have to pivot, and create something else that’s great, and find another venue, and find another amazing site, because he deserves to have a great send-off, and we’ll do it— we just don’t know exactly where yet.”
Emelianenko (40-6, 1NC) has won his last two fights, dating back to 2019, when he stopped Rampage Jackson in Tokyo. After an extended layoff due to the coronavirus pandemic, he returned to action last year, knocking out Johnson in Moscow.
Watch the rest of Scott Coker’s Bellator 276 press conference above.