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Fabio Maldonado injured his spine and can't train, will fight Fedor Emelianenko anyway

Esther Lin

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) middleweight veteran Fabio Maldonado will face one of the greatest heavyweight mixed martial arts (MMA) fighters of all time, Fedor Emelianenko, at the upcoming "Fight Nights" event, scheduled for June 17, 2016, in St. Petersburg, Russia.

More on that showdown here.

Sure, he suffered a cervical spine injury and is not medically cleared to train roughly a month and a half from his "Last Emperor" hoss fight, according to MMA Fighting, but you can't expect a warrior with a nickname like "The Iron Hillbilly" to pull out with a bad back.

Even if he has to pack some of his body parts into the overhead compartment on the flight to Russia.

The good news is, Maldonado can take whatever magic pills he needs to get back into fighting shape, since this event -- or any other combat sports event under the watchful eye of promoter Kamil Gadzhiev -- is not subject to pre- and post-fight drug testing.

Is normal.

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