Aleksander Emelianenko has announced his retirement from mixed martial arts competition.
The Russian heavyweight, younger brother of former Pride FC champion Fedor Emelianenko, made the announcement shortly after the M-1 organization revealed that it had cut him from the roster for “repeated breaches of contract”.
Aleks says, “Unfortunately, I am no longer able to perform in the ring because of health problems caused by old injuries. Of course, for an athlete like me this is hard to realize. I am grateful to the fans and friends for their support, for believing in me, I am also grateful to my ill-wishers. Your passion always made me move forward and achieve new results.”
Seemingly addressing the comments by M-1 president Vadim Finkelstein, who announced Alek’s removal from the organization’s roster yesterday, the heavyweight Pride FC veteran was more cryptic.
“I understand that I’ve been hit with a barrage of accusations and negative criticism, but that is outside my control. Unfortunately, there will always be people who when I am in a negative situation, will look to score a lot of points.
“I have no intention of commenting on anything, explaining or justifying myself. Each of us makes his own life, the bad and good. That is our essence. I'm sure like a lot of sportsmen, by my example I drew many young people in gyms. The rest of my life, God and time will judge.
“Now I want to turn my back on any publicity and to take control of my health, my family, my daughter, whom I love very much. Maybe sometime I'll meet with you again. Thank you! Be well and believe in God!”
Aleks retires with a 21-6 professional MMA record and a record that includes wins over Sergey Kharitinov and Pawel Nastula, the former Olympian. His legacy is one of untapped potential and a natural ability which far exceeded that of his more famous and more accomplished older brother.
With solid boxing ability and blistering hand speed for a heavyweight, Aleks’ entry into MMA competition was directly entering the Pride FC organization. He went 3-0, with two fights on the smaller-scale Pride Bushido shows, then fought Mirko ‘CroCop’ Filipovic in what was only his fourth-ever professional fight. CroCop’s record at the time was 11-2-2 in MMA and he had over 30 fights in the K-1 kickboxing league under his belt. He knocked Aleks out just over two minutes in.
Aleks then went on a 5-0 run before meeting Josh Barnett at Pride: Total Elimination Absolute in 2006. Again he was running into a much more experienced fighter - Barnett was a former UFC champion - but this time Aleks ran riot, battering Barnett round the ring and in the end only losing because he ran out of gas and allowed Barnett to get a takedown and submission.
In 2007 he was signed to the Affliction MMA promotion but was removed from their debut card at the last minute by the California State Athletic Commission. A spokesman for CSAC said he was “license denied” and that would henceforth apply to the entire US for perpetuity. No reason was given, because of privacy laws, but rumors emerged via scheduled opponent Paul Buentello that Aleks had been discovered to have hepatitis.
This was never confirmed but the rumor dogged him ever since. It is notable that he never fought, or attempted to fight, in the USA ever again. He also saw other bookings fall through last minute, including an appearance on a KSW show in Poland last year that again resulted in a cancellation without explanation.
The remainder of his career being confined to Russia and the surrounding states, where there are no athletic commissions, Aleks maintained a hardcore following online but was going nowhere. In November this year he saw a four-fight win streak come to an end when he fought Jeff Monson and got submitted. That looks set to be his last appearance in the ring.
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