|Birth Day:||September 28, 1976|
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He served as a firefighter in the Russian Army.
Emelianenko was born in 1976 in the city of Rubizhne, Luhansk Oblast, Ukrainian SSR, Soviet Union. In 1978, when he was two, his family moved within the Soviet Union to Stary Oskol, Belgorod of the Russian SFSR. His mother, Olga Fedorovna, was a teacher, and his father, Vladimir Alexandrovich, was a welder.
Emelianenko finished high school in 1991 and graduated with honors from a professional trade school as a Electrician in 1994. From 1995–97, he served in the Russian Army as a Military Firefighter and then as a member of the Tank Division near Nizhny Novgorod. During this time his parents divorced.
In 1997, Emelianenko received the certification of "Master of Sports" in Judo and Sambo. He also became part of the Russian national team.
In 1999, two years after his army service, he married Oksana, whom he had known since school, and their daughter Masha was born in the same year. They divorced in 2006. On 29 December 2007, his second daughter, Vasilisa, was born to his long-time girlfriend Marina. Emelianenko and Marina married in October 2009. In his spare time, he likes to read, listen to music, and draw. in July 2011 their second daughter Elizaveta was born. He is a practicing Orthodox Christian and a parishioner at the church of St. Nicholas in Stary Oskol. His entrance theme song, oy, to ne vecher, was performed at his request by archdeacon Andrey Zheleznyakov, soloist at the Episcopal Choir of the Nizhny Novgorod Diocese. In February 2014, Emelianenko remarried his first wife.
In 2000, due to a lack of money, Emelianenko left the Russian national team and began to compete professionally in mixed martial arts.
Emelianenko suffered his first loss in the sport with RINGS. The defeat was controversial, by Tsuyoshi Kohsaka at the King of Kings 2000 Block B event on 22 December 2000, via doctor stoppage due to a cut 17 seconds into the fight. Footage shows that the cut was caused by a missed looping punch where Kohsaka's elbow struck Emelianenko's head. Emelianenko said that this elbow reopened a cut sustained in his previous fight against Ricardo Arona.
Entering the Pride Fighting Championships on the heels of winning the RINGS King of Kings 2002 tournament, Emelianenko debuted at Pride 21 on 23 June 2002 against the 6 ft 11 in (2.11 m), 256 lb (116 kg) Dutch fighter Semmy Schilt, whom he defeated by unanimous decision. His next opponent was heavyweight Heath Herring, in a contest to establish the number-one heavyweight contender. Emelianenko, considered an underdog, dominated Herring with ground-and-pound, winning by doctor-stoppage after the first round.
Emelianenko was then signed to fight heavily favored Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira for Pride's Heavyweight Championship title at Pride 25 on 16 March 2003. Nogueira was coming off wins against Mark Coleman, Heath Herring and an upset comeback victory against Bob Sapp, as well as victory in the RINGS 2000 King of Kings Tournament, in which Emelianenko had participated. Nogueira was considered by many fans to be virtually unbeatable, due to his endurance and submission skills. Emelianenko rocked him early with punches and Nogueira pulled guard. Emelianenko survived Nogueira's guard, considered the most dangerous in MMA and easily defended all of Nogueira's submission attempts, dominating him for 20 minutes with a brutal ground and pound. The judges rendered a unanimous decision and Emelianenko became the second Pride Heavyweight Champion, a title he would never lose.
On 15 August 2004, Emelianenko faced six-time All-Japan Judo Champion and Olympic Silver Medalist Naoya Ogawa in the semifinals of the 2004 Grand Prix. After making quick work of Ogawa, winning by armbar, he advanced to face Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira for the second time in his career. Nogueira had won a decision against Emelianenko's former teammate Sergei Kharitonov earlier that night. This match was not only to decide the winner of the 2004 Grand Prix, but to unify the heavyweight championship, as Nogueira was awarded the interim title due to Emelianenko's inability to defend his championship in a timely manner in the previous year. The rematch with Nogueira was very competitive, but the fight was stopped prematurely due to a cut to Emelianenko's head from an accidental head clash while on the ground. A third meeting was thus scheduled for Shockwave 2004, which Emelianenko won. On the line was PRIDE's Heavyweight Championship, and PRIDE's 2004 Heavyweight Grand Prix title, as the final match of the tournament earlier that year was declared a no contest due to an accidental headbutt. Emelianenko this time chose not to engage Nogueira on the ground, in spite of having dominated him there in their first match. He overpowered the Brazilian on his feet in the first round, beating him to the punch for the first nine minutes. Nogueira faced great difficulty, getting dropped with punches and tossed to the mat multiple times by Judo throws. He was not able to implement his game plan of putting Emelianenko on his back, save for the final 30 seconds of the first round. He was not able to pull guard for any considerable time. During the second and third rounds, Emelianenko's takedown defense and counter-punching earned him a unanimous decision victory to retain the heavyweight championship.
Emelianenko's last defense of his Pride Heavyweight title was against 2001 K-1 World Grand Prix champion Mark Hunt at Shockwave 2006. Josh Barnett was originally slated to fight Emelianenko for the Heavyweight title, but turned down the fight, asserting that he was unprepared. With Cro Cop's departure to the UFC organization in late 2006, Hunt became number-one contender. Sporting a broken toe during the contest, Emelianenko nevertheless secured an armbar in the second minute of the first round, but Hunt was able to escape and counter by stepping over Emelianenko, ending in side control. At five minutes into the first round, Hunt made two attempts at an americana on Emelianenko's left arm but failed to complete them. Emelianenko got back to his feet and after struggling to take the fight to the ground, he submitted Hunt with a kimura at 8:16 in the first round.
With a special clause in his Pride contract that allowed him to fight under the banner of any MMA organization as long as the event was held on Russian soil, Emelianenko accepted a match in BodogFight against Matt Lindland. The fight was held on 14 April 2007 at the "Clash of the Nations" event in St. Petersburg, Russia. Lindland moved up two weight classes (from middleweight to heavyweight) for the match and came in weighing 212.5 lb (96.5 kg) to Emelianenko's 230 lb (104.5 kg).
After the purchase of Pride Fighting Championships by Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta III and the expiration of Emelianenko's Pride contract, there was speculation about him fighting in the UFC, especially after a public falling out between Bodog's Calvin Ayre and Emelianenko's manager, Vadim Finkelchtein. In a June 2007 interview with the Baltimore Sun, Chuck Liddell suggested that Emelianenko was on his way to the UFC. Dana White expressed interest in signing Emelianenko, but considered his management team to be the primary barrier, whereas Finkelchtein cited difficult negotiations as the reason. A main point of contention between the two was Finkelchtein's request for the UFC to work with his Russian M-1 promotion, extending contractual offers to other members of the Red Devil Sport Club, and permitting Emelianenko to compete in combat sambo tournaments. At UFC 76 however, UFC president Dana White stated that he expected Emelianenko to sign with the UFC in late 2007 or early 2008, after Emelianenko finished competing in a Sambo competition that White would not allow him to participate in under a UFC contract. He revealed his intent to set up a unification bout with UFC heavyweight champion Randy Couture as his first UFC fight. Nevertheless, negotiations broke down, as Emelianenko committed to a non-exclusive, two-year and six-fight deal with M-1 Global in October 2007.
On 13 February 2008, Emelianenko attended a press conference held by Dream, a newly formed Japanese mixed martial arts promoter. Vadim Finkelchtein confirmed that the organization had a tightly knit alliance with M-1 Global and that Emelianenko would be fighting on the new organization's fight cards. M-1 Global CEO Vadim Finkelchtein recently revealed plans to organize a fight for Fedor in co-operation with Dream, possibly on New Year's Eve in Japan.
On 19 July 2008, at Affliction: Banned, Emelianenko faced former two-time UFC Heavyweight Champion Tim Sylvia. Sylvia was coming off a submission loss via guillotine choke at the hands of Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira at UFC 81 in a title fight for the interim UFC Heavyweight Championship. Sylvia was the fourth-ranked heavyweight fighter in MMA by Sherdog.com prior to his fight with Emelianenko.
Emelianenko was one of 80 Russian sports champions, cultural icons and national heroes to carry the Olympic torch in St. Petersburg in 2008.
Three months later Emelianenko embarked on his title defense. His first match was against former IWGP Heavyweight champion, amateur and professional wrestler Kazuyuki Fujita. A heavy favorite, Emelianenko was expected to make quick work of Fujita, but was caught by a right hook that stunned him. Badly hurt, he worked his way to a clinch, but was taken down. With Fujita unable to amount a significant attack, Emelianenko was able to recover. He worked his way up and knocked Fujita down with body kick and a punching combo. He then submitted Fujita at 4:17 in the first round with a rear naked choke. Emelianenko reminisced about it in February 2009, "Fujita is the only one who ever hit me right, and he hit hard!".
On 24 January 2009, at Affliction: Day of Reckoning, Emelianenko fought former UFC Heavyweight Champion Andrei Arlovski, who was widely considered a top-5 heavyweight at the time. Arlovski was on a five-bout win streak and was ranked as high as No. 2 by Sherdog.com. Arlovski had some early success in the fight, landing punches and kicks. However, as Emelianenko backed into the ropes, Arlovski attempted a flying knee and Emelianenko was able to counter with an overhand right which resulted in a knockout of Arlovski at 3:14 of the first round. The victory was awarded knockout of the year for 2009 by Sherdog. The preparation for this bout overlapped with filming for the movie "The 5th Execution".
Emelianenko was scheduled to fight former UFC Heavyweight Champion Josh Barnett on 1 August 2009, at Affliction: Trilogy, but on 22 July Barnett was denied his license to compete by the California State Athletic Commission after testing positive for anabolic steroids. On 23 July 2009, Vitor Belfort – who was already on the card – was reported as a likely replacement, but the next day Affliction canceled the event citing limited time to find a suitable replacement and inadequate time to promote the fight.
Emelianenko's first fight in Strikeforce was against then-undefeated Brett Rogers in the main event of Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Rogers on 7 November 2009. Rogers was coming off a knockout win over Arlovski and was ranked No. 6 by Sherdog.com at the time.
Emelianenko suffered his first loss in 10 years on 26 June 2010 to Fabrício Werdum. After knocking Werdum down early in the first round, Emelianenko closed in, but Werdum secured a deep triangle and an armbar from his guard, and Fedor was forced to tap. The loss was considered to be a huge upset. Emelianenko stated through a translator on The MMA Hour that he considered retirement before the Werdum fight due to accumulating injuries and ageing.
Towards the end of his mixed martial arts career, Emelianenko entered politics. He was elected to a five-year term as a deputy of the Belgorod Regional Duma on 10 October 2010 under the United Russia political party.
Next came a one-sided bout against heavy underdog Gary "Big Daddy" Goodridge at Pride Total Elimination 2003. Emelianenko took down Goodridge after wobbling him with standing combinations, then finished him with ground and pound in the first round by referee stoppage. Emelianenko broke his hand in this fight, resulting in surgery. He has since reinjured this hand, leading to several postponed bouts. In 2011, Goodridge recalled his fight with Emelianenko; "Fedor hits so hard, I don't remember anything (from the fight). No one has his speed and power combo. He fought for 10 years at the top. He doesn't owe anything else to the sport."
In January 2011, it was announced that Fedor had agreed to enter the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix, and would face Antônio Silva on 12 February in the first quarterfinal match. After a close first round, Silva took control in round 2. After passing to mount, he unleashed a barrage of ground-and-pound that ultimately caused Emelianenko's right eye to swell shut. Ringside doctors called a stop, stating that Emelianenko could not see.
Emelianenko faced Dan Henderson on 30 July 2011 at Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Henderson. After both fighters landed significant punches in the first round, Fedor knocked Henderson down with a combination of strikes. Fedor followed Henderson to the mat and began to ground-and-pound him but Henderson was able to sweep and reverse position before delivering a punch underneath Fedor's armpit which landed on his chin, knocking Fedor unconscious, and sending him face first into the mat. Henderson continued to punch Fedor until referee Herb Dean jumped in to stop the fight. Dean explained, saying, "The fight is over when he's unconscious. Because he comes back swiftly after I've already stepped in and stopped the fight, I can't restart the fight. Dan's still throwing punches, but once I've touched Dan, I've stopped the fight. If I was to do it again – if I see a fighter face down receiving shots, I'm going to step in and stop the fight. I can't predict how long he's going to be unconscious for."
On 7 October 2011 Emelianenko stated "Yes, I've lost my last fights, but every time there were definite reasons for that. Some changes in my family took place at that time and they affected my performance. Certainly, there were mistakes in my preparations. Naturally, I was strained analyzing my fights,". Four days later, Emelianenko continued on the subject: "In the three bouts I lost, I felt like I could've won. But the win somehow eluded me. I felt I could do it. I had chances, but God's will was different,"
Following his stint in Strikeforce, Emelianenko fought Jeff Monson at M-1 Global on 20 November 2011 at the Olympic Arena in Moscow, Russia.
After four years, Emelianenko made his return to Japan—where he spent most of his career—at Fight For Japan: Genki Desu Ka Omisoka 2011 on 31 December 2011, facing Olympic judo gold medalist Satoshi Ishii. Emelianenko won by knockout in the first round.
Emelianenko began his mixed martial arts as a member of Russian Top Team (RTT), a stable linked to Fighting Network RINGS where he trained under senior members like Volk Han and Andrei Kopylov. After his bout with Gary Goodridge, the Emelianenko brothers left Russian Top Team and began to train in St. Petersburg with Red Devil Sport Club, managed by Vadim Finkelchtein. Finkelchtein would remain his manager up until his first retirement in mid 2012. Emelianenko is also a member of the VOS gym in the Netherlands, where he trains with Johan Vos and Lucien Carbin. Emelianenko has trained with the likes of Ernesto Hoost, Tyrone Spong, and Denis Lebedev.
In 2012, White tried to lure Emelianenko out of retirement after overwhelming fan demand for a UFC bout between Emelianenko and Brock Lesnar. However, White stated that Emelianenko was firmly retired.
On 21 June 2012 in St. Petersburg, Russia, Emelianenko faced three-time UFC heavyweight title contender Pedro Rizzo in an M-1 Global event. Prior to the bout, it was rumored that Fedor would retire. Originally denying retirement rumors, Emelianenko made his announcement post-fight after defeating Rizzo by knockout in the first two minutes of the first round.
On 28 July 2012, Emelianenko replaced Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev as a staff member of Russia's Council of Physical Fitness & Sports. The corresponding decree was signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin.
In 2014, Emelianenko expressed support of the annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation, and commented on the choice of the majority of the Crimean population to become a part of Russia in the 2014 Crimean status referendum: "Crimea has made the right choice, by joining Russia." He travelled to Crimea in order to promote MMA in the peninsula.
On 14 July 2015, after a three year hiatus from mixed martial arts, Emelianenko announced that he will be returning to active competition and has started training immediately. He was in negotiations with the Ultimate Fighting Championship and Bellator MMA. In a statement released through his management, Emelianenko added that he has retired from his position at the Russian Ministry of Sport, and will put all attention toward his comeback.
On 19 September 2015, at the Bellator 142 Dynamite 1 event, Fedor declared in English that he will fight on New Year's Eve for a newly created regional promotion in Japan, Rizin Fighting Federation, under the presidency of former Pride Fighting Championships boss Nobuyuki Sakakibara. Jaideep Singh and Tsuyoshi Kohsaka were initially in talks for being Fedor's opponent, but both fighters were ruled out for lack of competitiveness. Singh was eventually confirmed as the opponent and The Last Emperor easily won his comeback fight in the first round by submission to punches after an effective ground and pound from the full mount.
Emelianenko faced Fábio Maldonado on 17 June 2016 competing for a promotion on the regional circuit in St. Petersburg (Russia). Despite being dropped and nearly finished in the first round, Emelianenko rallied over the last two rounds and was awarded a controversial majority decision victory. 4 of 5 media outlets scored the bout a draw. All three judges being appointed by the Russian MMA Union was pondered as a conflict of interest. In turn, in mid-July the official result was overturned to a draw. However, WMMAA has no real authority to change the outcome and its decision is merely symbolic in nature.
On 19 November 2016, during the Bellator 165 broadcast it was announced that Emelianenko signed a multi-fight deal with Bellator MMA.
On 20 November 2016 it was announced that Emelianenko would face Matt Mitrione at Bellator's 18 February 2017 show in San Jose, California at Bellator 172. The fight was canceled only few hours before the fight as Mitrione was suffering from kidney stones and the promoter was unable to line up a substitute opponent in such a short notice. This fight against Matt Mitrione was rescheduled for the Bellator NYC on 24 June 2017 in New York City. Emelianenko lost the fight via knockout in the first round.
In November 2017, Bellator announced the 2018 Bellator Heavyweight Grand Prix that will crown the Bellator Heavyweight champion, vacated in May 2016 by Vitaly Minakov. Eight fighters will compete between February and December 2018.
Emelianenko faced former UFC Heavyweight champion Frank Mir at Bellator 198 on 28 April 2018. The bout was part of the opening round of the Bellator Heavyweight Tournament. Emelianenko won the fight via TKO in the first round. He next faced Chael Sonnen in the semi-finals at Bellator 208 on 13 October 2018. Emelianenko won the fight via TKO in the first round.
In the final, Emelianenko faced Ryan Bader for the vacant Bellator Heavyweight World Championship in the main event at Bellator 214 on 26 January 2019. Emelianenko lost the fight via knockout just 35 seconds into the first round.
Despite contemplating retirement, news surfaced on 15 June 2019, that Emelianenko had signed a new exclusive, multi-fight contract with Bellator.
Emelianenko fought Quinton Jackson on 29 December 2019 at a Bellator and Rizin co-produced event in Japan. Emelianenko won via first-round knockout.
At age 11, Emelianenko began to practice Sambo and Judo under the tutelage of Vasily Ivanovich Gavrilov. A year later, he was admitted to sport classes taught by Vladimir Voronov, a coach who worked with him. Voronov died in August 2020 due to complications caused by coronavirus. According to Voronov, Emelianenko did not stand out from his peers initially but would achieve future success thanks to his own perseverance and hard work for many years.
In 2020, UFC President Dana White stated that the only fight he regrets not having made was a match between Emelianenko and Brock Lesnar, when Lesnar was the UFC heavyweight champion.
Celebrating Fedor Emelianenko's birthday. Wishing him all the best!
Currently, Fedor Emelianenko is 46 years, 0 months and 0 days old. Fedor Emelianenko will celebrate 47th birthday on a Thursday 28th of September 2023.
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