Fedor Emelianenko (31-3 MMA, 1-2 SF) will pass on competing in combat sambo to honor a medical suspension issued to him by the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board.
NJSACB legal counsel Nick Lembo today told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) that Emelianenko's camp has assured him the heavyweight won't participate in a national sambo tournament to be held this weekend in St. Petersburg, Russia.
Sambo is a martial art system originally developed for the Russian military and bears many similarities to MMA in its emphasis on both striking and grappling. It's considered a national sport in Russia, and many competitions are held worldwide.
Emelianenko, a longtime sambo devotee, received two medical suspensions following a TKO loss to Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva in the quarterfinals of the Strikeforce heavyweight grand prix, which was held Feb. 12 at IZOD Center in East Rutherford, N.J. He was suspended indefinitely pending a clear CT scan of his head and facial bones and also suspended 90 days for strikes to the head, as MMAjunkie.com previously reported.
"The Last Emperor" hinted he might retire following the loss вЂ“ his second consecutive setback in a virtually unblemished 10-year career вЂ“ but a representative for M-1 Global, his managerial and promotional company, earlier this week informed ESPN.com that the fighter would compete in the tournament.
"Fedor's in, definitively," said Evgeni Kogan, M-1 Global's director of operations.
Lembo said he was contacted this past Friday by M-1 Global about Emelianenko's plans and said he explained the terms of the suspension.
"There was some confusion since it was the first time they were dealing with a commission-issued medical suspension, and the confusion surrounded whether the 90 days stays in effect if he provided a clear CT scan of the head and facial bones," Lembo said. "He has provided the required CT scan, and that's under medical review."
Lembo said Emelianenko's suspension could be upheld, reduced, or removed depending on the recommendation of NJSACB doctors. He added that fighters who competed under medical suspension typically had their fight license revoked for one year in addition to being placed on a national registry that would in all likelihood bar them from competing in states with athletic commissions.
Although Emelianenko's loss took him out of the Strikeforce heavyweight grand prix, Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker hinted that he could be brought back as an alternate in the event of an injury or other complication in the tournament. So, for now, it looks like the Russian is laying low.
"It's my understanding that they are going to honor the suspension and he is not going to compete," Lembo said.
by Steven Marrocco