Bellator 290 – Fedor Emelianenko officially retires after loss to Ryan Bader

Fedor Emelianenko placed his gloves down in the middle of the cage and officially retired from MMA after a first-round TKO loss to Ryan Bader in the main event of Bellator 290. It was a significant event for the promotion as they made their network debut on CBS.

There were many MMA legends and pioneers of the sport in attendance and were brought into the cage as Emelianenko addressed the fans at the Kia Forum in Inglewood, California. He attempted to retire as Bellator heavyweight champion and avenge his 2019 loss to Bader but was unsuccessful. 

‘The Last Emeperor’ was happy to see all the legends who came out to support him as he competed for the final time in his legendary career. During his post-fight press conference, he spoke about what it meant to him to see legends and past opponents in attendance. 

He said:

“I was really happy to see all the legends, all the fighters. With some of them I shared the ring, with some of them I was watching and learning from them. It was great to have them come and support me.”

When asked how he’d like his legacy and career to be remembered, Emelianenko mentioned that he hopes that fans remember him for how he conducted himself. He was never known for trash-talk and let his skills do the talking. 

‘The Last Emperor’ said:

“It doesn’t matter if I win or lose, that’s how it supposed to happen. You saw today, the whole arena was cheering for me. So, I really hope that I keep my popularity and my fanbase based on my actions in the cage, not because I was trash talking my opponents.”

Despite retiring from competing in MMA, Emelianenko will still be very much involved with coaching his fighters, which includes reigning Bellator light heavyweight champion Vadim Nemkov. 

Photo Credit: Bellator MMA

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