When Fedor Emelianenko knocked out Frank Mir in the main event of Bellator 198 last weekend, he advanced to the second round of Bellator’s exciting Heavyweight Grand Prix. The Russian legend, who is widely considered the best heavyweight in MMA history, will now battle Chael Sonnen sometime later this year.
Speaking on his podcast this week, Chael Sonnen weighed in on his legendary opponent. Suffice it to say that he’s not as impressed by Emelianenko as most other fight fans are. In fact, Sonnen believes that Emelianenko’s many wins in PRIDE — the very wins that made him a legend — were fixed.
“I don’t accept your wins in Japan,” Sonnen said of Fedor (transcribed by Jim Edwards for MMANytt). “The referee was wearing an earpiece, you never had a weigh-in, you never had a commission. Anyone that came over from Japan to America has a losing record. Why? I’ll tell you because the fights over here are real and they are fixed in Japan.”
“You got a whole lot of rub and a whole lot of money out of doing fake fights, that pisses me off as a fan who bought those fights and that later found out I was buying wrasslin’.”
Sonnen continued, elaborating that Emelianenko probably didn’t know his fights were fixed, but that they were nonetheless.
“Fedor would greatly be offended if I said that he had a fake fight,” Sonnen said. “I have said this to [Mirko] “Cro Cop” [Filipovic] who was offended, he couldn’t believe that I said it. Wanderlei Silva couldn’t believe I said it, that guy is crazy.”
“The guy that is going to go over in professional wrestling will sit down in the same room as the guy that’s going to put him over and then work out the match. What they did in Japan was they only told one guy. So the guys that were going to win, your Cro Cop’s, your Wanderlei’s, your Fedor’s, they were never in the room when the guy that was your promoter, also known as the Yakuza, also known as the Japanese mafia, walks in the room and tells the opponent when to go down.”
“So when the guy goes down, the winner, Cro Cop, Wanderlei, Fedor, just for example, really thinks they won. So they don’t know that the fix is in. Pretty soon they really think they can go beat 20 something guys in a row.”
Sonnen then added that the questionable nature of Emelianenko’s bouts make him a tough fighter to prepare for. It’s not particularly fruitful to review fight footage, after all, if the outcomes of those fights were predetermined.
“I don’t deny the guy has got skills, I don’t deny that he’s big and powerful and all these things,” Sonnen said. “I’m not pissing on his skills at all. I’m just telling you that when I think about him it’s very hard to go out and study him because his fights were fake in Japan. His opponent was told when to go down.”
What do you think of Chael Sonnen’s take on Fedor Emelianenko’s incredible record?
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 5/3/2018.