The investigation into Russia’s alleged ties to the 2016 U.S. presidential election took an interesting turn as a Russian mixed-martial-arts fighter was questioned by the FBI.
MMA fighter Fedor Emelianenko was met in his hotel room by agents on April 24 and questioned about his connection to President Trump and Vladimir Putin. According to Emelianenko’s manager, Jerry Millen, this came just before his heavyweight fight against Frank Mir. The pair declined to detail Emelianenko’s conversation with the agents.
“The FBI came to the hotel looking to talk to Fedor and they were very nice, came in to speak with Fedor for a few minutes, spoke to me, very cool guys, and that’s all I can really say about it. Again, the FBI did come to the hotel, they found us, knocked on the door,” Millen said.
“Hundred percent, kind of surprised,” Millen added. “They were very nice, very professional.”
The connection between the pair comes because Russian president Putin has attended Emelianenko’s fights, and the 41-year-old fighter has been photographed with Putin. The fighter is connected to President Trump, dating back 10 years to when he was signed by Affliction Entertainment, a fight league in which Trump had an ownership stake.
Affliction ended because of financial reasons after two events, both of which were headlined by Emelianenko. President Trump’s personal attorney, Michael Cohen, was the league’s chief operating officer. This is the same Cohen whose offices and home was raided by the FBI in search of information about a nondisclosure agreement he brokered with porn star Stormy Daniels days before the 2016 election.
The criminal investigation of Cohen continues, headed up by FBI Special Counsel Robert Mueller, as part of an ongoing probe into the results of the 2016 election, and the possibility of collusion between President Trump and Russian officials to affect election results.
Emelianenko was at the top of his sport’s heavyweight division for most of the 2000s and retired in 2012. However, he took up the sport again in 2015 and is not under contract with Bellator.