Childhood & Early Life
Fedor was born on September 28, 1976 in Rubizhne, Luhansk Oblast, Ukrainian SSR, Soviet Union, to Vladimir Alexandrovich and Olga Fedorovna. His father was a gas-electric welder while his mother was a school teacher.
He has one elder sister, Marina, and two younger brothers, Aleksander and Ivan. Aleksander also followed Fedor’s footsteps into mixed martial arts fighting and earned quite a name.
His family relocated to Stary Oskol, Belgorod, in 1978 when Fedor was just two. He developed a knack for wrestling at an early age, particularly judo and self-defense, and started training with Gavrilov V.I.
In 1991, he completed his high school studies and thereafter graduated in 1994 with honours from a pro trade school.
He joined the Russian Army in 1995 and served there till 1997 as a military fire-fighter. His parents divorced around this time.
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His martial arts journey mainly started with Judo and Sambo with his first coach Vasiliy Ivanovich Gavrilov. Thereafter, he has trained under Vladimir Mihailovich Voronov.
Master of Sports in self-defense was carried off by him in Saint-Petersburg in 1997 and a couple of months later he went on to win an international tournament in the city of Kursk thus becoming Master of Sports in Judo.
He won a bronze medal at the Russian Judo Federation National Championship in 1998 and 1999 respectively.
His Sambo career so far has seen him win the World Combat Sambo Championship four times - twice in 2002, in Thessaloniki and Panama City; and twice in Prague in 2005 and 2007 respectively. He also won a Bronze medal at the 2008 World Combat Sambo Championships held in St. Petersburg and a Gold medal in 2009’s Russian Combat Sambo Championship among others.
His Mixed Martial arts career commenced as a ‘Russian Top Team’ (RTT) member on May 21, 2000. He trained with Russian RINGS competitors of the first generation like Andrey Kopylov and Volk Han.
To begin with, he clinched four straight wins that included beating ‘The Brazilian Tiger’, Ricardo Arona. The match is counted amongst the toughest fights in his career so far.
On December 22, 2000, he faced his first defeat in the sport while fighting against Japanese MMA artist and professional wrestler, Tsuyoshi Kohsaka, at the King of Kings 2000 Block B event.
The fight concluded in a controversial technical win by Kohsaka via doctor stoppage due to a cut suffered by Emelianenko through a missed looping punch as Kohsaka's elbow struck his head reopening a cut suffered by him in his earlier fight with Arona.
Thereafter till June 26, 2010, Emelianenko remained undefeated in the next 28 fights that included his victories against a Pride FC champion, two Olympic medallists and four former UFC champions among others. This period saw him win over 11 top-10 ranking fighters as also a win against Kohsaka in a rematch.
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He was with RTT from 2000 to 2003 following which he and Aleksander left the MMA gym in Barnaul and started training with ‘Red Devil Sport Club’, in St. Petersburg, founded and managed by Vadim Finkelchtein.
After the Emelianenko brothers joined ‘Red Devil Sport Club’, the main trainers of the academy have been Vladimir Voronov and Aleksander Michkov, the childhood coaches of the brothers.
Since 2003 till present he is a team member of Red Devil Sport Club / Alexander Nevsky OAMK. Finkelchtein became his manager and remained so till mid-2012 when Emelianenko took his first retirement.
On March 16, 2003, he won PRIDE Heavyweight Championship fighting against Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira at Pride 25 held at Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan. He then thrived in defending his championship against Nogueira at Pride Shockwave 2004; against Mirko Filipovic at Pride Final Conflict 2005; and against Mark Hunt at Pride Shockwave 2006.
He has been a part-owner of the St. Petersburg based mixed martial arts promotion M-1 Global since 2007 that was founded by Vadim Finkelchtein in 1997.
On July 19, 2008, he won the inaugural WAMMA Heavyweight Championship against American MMA fighter Tim Sylvia at the Affliction: Banned event held at Anaheim, California, US.
He successfully defended the WAMMA Heavyweight Championship during Affliction: Day of Reckoning against Belarusian Andrei Arlovski on January 24, 2009; and at the Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Werdum event against American fighter Brett Rogers on November 7, 2009.
Overall his mixed martial arts records so far show a win of 36 out of 42 fight ups, of which 10 were won by knockout, 17 by submission and 9 by decision.
On October 10, 2010, Emelianenko was elected as a deputy of the Belgorod Regional Duma for a five-year term under the Russian political party ‘United Russia’.
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On June 21, 2012, he defeated three-time UFC heavyweight title contender Pedro Rizzo in St. Petersburg, Russia, in an M-1 Global event following which he announced his retirement as a competitor. Since that year he serves as the President of the Russian MMA Union.
As per FightMatrix, he remained among top 10 heavyweights from January 2002 to July 2011 including being ranked numero uno from April 2003 to April 2010.
He became a staff member of the Council of Physical Fitness & Sports of Russia, replacing Prime Minister of Russia Dmitry Medvedev on July 28, 2012. Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the corresponding decree.
He made announcement of his comeback to active competition on July 14, 2015 and on December 31 that year he beat his opponent Indian-Japanese mixed-martial artist and kick-boxer Jaideep Singh by submission at the Rizin World Grand Prix 2015 Finale held in Saitama, Japan.
On November 19, 2016 Emelianenko signed a multi-fight deal with the American MMA promotion company Bellator MMA.
He trains with Lucien Carbin and Johan Vos at the VOS gym in the Netherlands.
He also made screen appearance as himself in the 2010 Russian film ‘The 5th Execution’; in documentaries like ‘Fedor: The Baddest Man on the Planet’ (2009) and ‘New York Mixed Martial Arts’ (2011); and in TV series like ‘Human Weapon’ (2007) and ‘Sports Science’ (2009).