Fedor Emelianenko is widely regarded as one of the best heavyweight fighters in mixed martial arts history. So, when he announced he would be returning to the sport after a brief retirement, everyone was excited and hoping he would do so on one of the biggest stages.
Unfortunately, Fedor’s return will come on a New Year’s Eve card in Japan.
Fedor’s opponent has yet to be announced, but it would be fair to assume it will be a no-name opponent or someone who is well beyond their prime.
So why did Fedor return to the sport for an obscure show against an obscure opponent?
Well, the answer is simple: money.
According to Dave Meltzer in his weekly newsletter, Fedor will make a whopping $2.5 million for his appearance in Japan. The purse will be guaranteed.
“Japanese news sources have reported the show being held at the Saitama Super Arena, which makes sense,” Meltzer wrote.
“They’ve also reported that Emelianenko will earn $2.5 million guaranteed for the show, which tells you why he didn’t sign the UFC, since it’s guaranteed and most likely he’ll face a lesser opponent than he would in UFC. UFC had been negotiating with him and it did seem they were close. UFC sources said they were under the impression Emelianenko signed a two-fight deal with Sakakibara’s group.”
“It is believed the show is being financed by an oil-rich foreign investor who already has a stake in the MMA business. Whether he’s agreed to invest for one show, or a regular promotion, is unknown.”
You can’t blame Fedor for wanting to chase the dollars. You just wish that he would have taken a fight that could have helped his legacy. You know, like finally fighting in the UFC.
Unfortunately, money speaks and Fedor was listening.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA TODAY Sports