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Fedor returns: Russian legend Fedor Emeliananko signs new contract with Bellator MMA

Fedor returns: Russian legend Fedor Emeliananko signs new contract with Bellator MMA
Russian heavyweight MMA legend Fedor Emelianenko has confirmed he will continue his glittering career after signing a new multi-fight contract with US promotion Bellator MMA.

Emelianenko rose to prominence as the most dominant heavyweight force in MMA history as champion of the now-defunct PRIDE Fighting Championships in Japan.

After the organization was purchased and absorbed by the UFC, Fedor headed for pastures new and competed for Strikeforce in the United States and M-1 Global in Europe before announcing his retirement in 2012.

But he returned to action three years later with Rizin before signing for Bellator and entering the promotion's heavyweight grand prix tournament.

Emelianenko reached the final of the tournament following wins against Frank Mir and Chael Sonnen, but was stopped by Ryan Bader in the final, and many believed he would announce his retirement shortly afterwards.

But on Friday night at Bellator 222 in New York it was announced that Emelianenko, now 42, had signed an exclusive multi-fight contract as he embarks on a "Farewell Tour" for his stellar career.

"I am pleased that we were able to sign Fedor, the greatest heavyweight of all time, to a new contract extension," said Bellator president Scott Coker.

"He is someone that I consider a friend in this business and am even more pleased that he has decided to finish his storied career with Bellator.

"There are exciting matchups for him here in Bellator that I know will appeal to his fans from the past, as well as new fans from his recent run in the tournament.

"As his time in the sport winds down, I am happy to see him close out his career on his own terms." 

"My strong friendship and respect for Scott Coker made reaching a contract extension a simple process," said Emelianenko.

"Bellator is my home – I look forward to helping Bellator continue to grow and reach its full potential as the world's top MMA promotion."

No announcements have been made regarding his next fight, but all eyes will be on Emelianenko once again as he makes his return to action later this year.

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