SAN JOSE, Calif. – Scott Coker and Fedor Emelianenko have begun preliminary talks for the last ride of “The Last Emperor.”
With one fight remaining on his Bellator contract, Coker met with the Russian heavyweight great on the grounds of Emelianenko protege Vadim Nemkov’s next title fight. The two went to the Apple headquarters store in Cupertino, Calif., to check out products Thursday from one of Emelianenko’s favorite spots.
“He really loves Apple,” Coker told reporters, including MMA Junkie, following the Bellator 277 ceremonial faceoffs at SAP Center.
In all seriousness, the feeling-out process for the next order of business between the two industry notables is underway. The original plan was for Emelianenko to fight in July in Moscow’s Red Square. However, due to the Russia-Ukraine conflict, those plans were nixed. Though the magnitude of the canceled Plan A will be hard to match, Coker is trying to find the biggest Plan B possible to send off the legend.
“I said, ‘Look, the world is different now, right?’ My goal is to get this done as soon as we can, because we had a fight July 9 in Red Square booked already,” Coker said. “That would’ve been phenomenal. Come on. In Red Square would’ve been a phenomenal topping-off of his career as an MMA fighter. That didn’t work out, so things have changed. I’m still trying to monitor. The thing changes on a weekly basis – things we can do, things we can’t do, sanctions this, sanctions that.
“So we’re trying to figure out what the best course of action is. Honestly, when I look at Fedor, he deserves to have the largest platform and the biggest fight and the biggest event to hold his final fight. That’s just how we feel. And if we have to wait a couple months to do it to figure it out, we’re going to do that.”
Coker confirmed the fight won’t be in Russia. As for an opponent, he didn’t go into specifics. The targeted timeline is sooner rather than later, with 45-year-old Emelianenko already appearing to be in top physical shape.
“My goal is to do that fight sooner, but as you know, things could change. It’s a very fluid world right now,” Coker said. “I think Fedor just wants to fight. If you look at him now, he looks like he’s in shape. He looks like he’s ready to fight today. I said, ‘Fedor, are you in shape? Are you fight-ready?’ He said, ‘Yeah, I’m ready.’ I said, ‘Well, slow down. Slow down. We’ve got to do this right, so pump the brakes.’”
Emalianenko is currently riding a two-fight winning streak and victorious in four of his past five bouts. He most recently competed in October, when he defeated Tim Johnson by knockout in the first round.
The promotion returns with Bellator 277, which takes place Friday at SAP Center. The main card airs on Showtime after prelims on MMA Junkie.