Bellator President Scott Coker would not be surprised if MMA legend Fedor Emelianenko went as far as to retire as champion of the upcoming heavyweight Grand Prix tournament. On the other hand, if the Russian were to bow out in the first round, that may also be the final bow for “The Last Emperor”.
Coker explained to Kevin Iole why he included Fedor in the upcoming tournament, despite him coming off a knockout loss to Matt Mitrione in June 2017 (via MMAFighting):
“When you talk about heavyweights, like with Mitrione, they both punch each other in the face, knock each other down, Mitrione got up a little faster . . . and then he finished Fedor,” said Coker. “But it could easily went the other way. Yes, guys that are fighting into their thirties should not be fighting 21-year-old kids like he was doing in the past but this is the perfect tournament for him.
“He wanted to come in. He said to me – through Jerry, the translator – I know that this is the fourth quarter for me and I want to compete, and I would love to be Bellator’s heavyweight world champion. When Fedor asks you that, what are you gonna do? Are you gonna say no? You have to say yes so we did and we gave him that respect and he’s gonna have an equal shot just like everybody else.”
Coker believes Fedor could hang his gloves up in dramatic style, leaving the sport on a massive high with the Bellator heavyweight championship:
“I believe that he hasn’t decided yet but I wouldn’t be surprised if he fought the tournament out and won the tournament, that he would retire the tournament champion and the heavyweight champion,” said Coker. “What a way to have a great send off.
“Or if he loses the first fight to Frank Mir and gets stopped, he might call it a day too.”