Considered one of the all-time greats of mixed martial arts, Fedor Emelianenko is gearing up to compete in Bellator’s heavyweight tournament, mostly for the joy of fighting.
Sometimes motivations really are that simple. Fighters often talk of their goals with determination. They want to win titles, become legends, make a lot of money (that one may be more internal than vocalized). But rip away all those things – or in the case of Fedor Emelianenko, accomplish them – and the underlying reasoning is often much more down to earth.
“He likes to fight. He likes to compete. It’s fun,” Fedor’s interpreter told MMA fighting in a recent interview, paraphrasing the combat sports great’s thoughts on why he was entering the Bellator heavyweight grand prix.
“He likes the tournament format,” Fedor’s interpreter said. “Because, he feels like, you got a bunch of tough guys, you let them all fight, you lose you’re out. The fans like that, the stakes are high. So, yeah, he likes the tournament format.”
Emelianenko is scheduled to face former UFC champion Frank Mir in the tournament’s opening round. It’s something of a fantasy fight for veteran MMA fans, who got to watch each of them rise through their respective careers, separated entirely by contractual obligations; Mir a seemingly lifelong UFC fighter until his recent departure to Bellator, and Fedor a product of PRIDE, before heading to Affliction, Strikeforce, and a short lived retirement.
While the ‘Last Emperor’ displayed his typical brevity when speaking of his potential fight with Mir, he did give a little more time to how the tournament might play out, given the wide range of styles and sizes of the fighters in it.
“You know, every advantage can also be a disadvantage,” Fedor said through his interpreter. “You have a smaller fighter, he’s faster than the other guys. But then he’s also not as strong, as powerful. So, that might be playing against him. The truth is, it’s just a matter of who can utilize their advantages and disadvantages in the right way and ultimately win the fights.”
Mir vs. Fedor is scheduled for April 28th in Chicago, Illinois, at the Allstate Arena. No other bouts have been announced for the card as of yet.