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Bellator boss Scott Coker: Fedor Emelianenko eyes May or June for new fight, possibly in San Jose


SAN JOSE, Calif. – Bellator President Scott Coker admits he’s just as disappointed as you are that Fedor Emelianenko didn’t fight on Saturday night, but he promises “The Last Emperor” will fight for the promotion in relatively short order.

“Look, it’s disappointing,” Coker told MMAjunkie. “We came her to see Fedor fight in the main event.”

Emelianenko (36-4 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) was scheduled to face fellow heavyweight Matt Mitrione (11-5 MMA, 2-0 BMMA) in the main event of Saturday’s Bellator 172 event at SAP Center in San Jose, Calif.

But just as the doors opened for the night’s event, promotion officials announced the main event had been scrapped. Details were scarce at the time, but Coker said Mitrione was dealing with some discomfort throughout the week and was ultimately diagnosed with kidney stones following a trip to the hospital.

At that point, Coker said the organization had no choice but to call off the contest.

“This morning, (Mitrione) was in excruciating pain,” Coker said. “And so, I told his guys, ‘Hey, get him to the hospital. He needs to get this checked out.’ They took him to the hospital, and by the time they had ran all the tests, he was diagnosed with having a kidney stone.

“So he’s in excruciating pain because the stone was trying to pass, so we said, ‘You know, healthy and safety first. We know this is a big fight. All the fans are here, I’m sure they’re disappointed, but hopefully we’ll have some great fights for them tonight.”

Coker admitted there were fighters willing to step into the headlining spot, including Tito Ortiz and Chael Sonnen, who recently headlined Bellator 170. But Coker felt everyone involved was better served by simply calling off the fight.

“I got calls from Chael,” Coker said. “‘Put me in coach.’ Tito Ortiz texted me. ‘Hey, put me in.’ I’m like, ‘We can’t just do that. It’s not that simple of a process, and then we just ran out of time.

“Doors were opening at 3 o’clock. We had to decide are we going to pull it, or are we just going to continue to try and wait another half-hour, which means all the fans are standing outside? We just ran out of time, and we said, ‘Look, we’d rather just pull it. The fight’s off.'”

Refunds were offered to fans through the original point of purchase, though promotion officials weren’t immediately aware of an exact number of fans who may have requested their money back. However. officials did say they expected the number to be “minimal.”

Still, Coker said if he’s able to have his way, he’ll bring Emelianenko back to San Jose in “May or June” for a fight with Mitrione – or if he’s unavailable, a differing foe.

“We’re going to reschedule it,” Coker said. “We’re going to try and work something out with the building here to reschedule it and have it here in San Jose sometime in the next couple of months. That’s not guaranteed, … (but) when we reschedule it, whether he fights Matt or not depending on Matt’s health, it will be special because anytime Fedor fights, it’s a big, big, big thing.”

Coker did rule out a potential March 31 appearance at Bellator 175 in the Chicago area, where Emelianenko previously fought under the Strikeforce banner, citing the Russian, himself, who said he wouldn’t be ready again to compete that soon.

Check out the video above to hear more from Coker.

For more on Bellator 172, check out the MMA Events section of the site.

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