One of the biggest obstacles to having Fedor Emelianenko sign with Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is the former PRIDE heavyweight champion's relationship with ex-Strikeforce President Scott Coker, who just so happens to be running the show at Bellator MMA.
Not sure what changed over the last few months, when there was an impromptu trip to Japan to try to make something happen, but it sounds like Coker has withdrawn from the Emelianenko sweepstakes, according to his conversation with MMA Junkie:
"We've had conversations, but not about fighting. We had a great time doing the fights together with Fedor (in Strikeforce) ... I felt like we've done it already with Fedor. We've got a great roster and a great thing going. When he comes back into the market, I feel like he's going to come back for three or four years. He's not going to come back for one fight. And he is coming back, but I'm not sure where he's going. I haven't asked him. Let him come back and see how it works out for him, and then maybe we'll have him fight a couple years down the line, or next year, or whatever. The door is open, but I felt like at this point, Bellator is kind of on a little bit of a roll here. Would he add a lot of value? Yes. But we're just going to sit back and see what happens."
No one knows (yet) just how much Emelianenko (34-4, 1 NC) is asking for his mixed martial arts (MMA) return, but judging by how giddy most combat sports fans have been since "The Last Emperor" announced his return, I'm sure it's well into the six-figures.
That said, I can think of at least one promotion who can afford it ... and it's not UFC.