This weekend, MMA icon Fedor Emelianenko will make his highly anticipated return to the cage when he steps into the Bellator MMA cage against former UFC heavyweight Matt Mitrione. Emelianenko will be returning to the cage for the first time since his controversial majority decision win over Fabio Maldonado at EFN 50 back in June, where he picked up his second straight win since returning to MMA in 2015.
Ahead of his fight with Mitrione, Emelianenko spoke to MMAFighting to explain why he chose Bellator MMA over the UFC:
“We had made great relations with Scott Coker,” Emelianenko said through an interpreter. “I received a very good offer from Bellator. In addition, Bellator invited my entire team. So all of the guys will be performing as well.”
“Depending on the point of view, a lot of times you can be very close and sort of go around and around and never get to it,” he said. “There were some things that were not satisfactory for UFC and there were some things that were not satisfactory for me and we never came to an agreement.”
“One of the main reasons was the ability for my team to perform, for my guys to perform,” Emelianenko said. “The other reasons were, we were not exactly on the same terms [with the UFC] as far as the financial conditions and some other things, some other smaller things as well.”
Emelianenko’s fight with Mitrione of course will headline Bellator 172 this Saturday, where Mitrione will look to continue his 2-fight win streak that has seen him go 2-0 under the Bellator MMA banner following a 2-fight skid that saw him released from the UFC after a 6 year stint with the UFC that saw him make a run on The Ultimate Fighter in 2009.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 2/14/2017.