FBI questions MMA fighter with Trump, Russia connections

Donald Trump and Fedor Emelianenko in June 2009. (Getty)
Donald Trump and Fedor Emelianenko in June 2009. (Getty)

The FBI has questioned Russian MMA fighter Fedor Emelianenko, a fighter with connections to President Donald Trump, Russian president Vladimir Putin, and Trump’s attorney Michael Cohen.

Emelianenko’s manager confirmed Saturday to the AP that the meeting took place last Tuesday. Emelianenko was in Illinois to fight Frank Mir in Bellator 198 Saturday night; he defeated Mir in the first round.

“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,” Emelianenko’s manager Jerry Millen told the AP. “Again, the FBI did come to the hotel, they found us, knocked on the door.”

“Everything was great. Everything was OK. Everything was good,” Emelianenko said of the visit, after the Mir fight.

Millen described the agents as “very nice, very professional,” and added that their visit was a surprise. He did not disclose the content of the questioning, which is related to an investigation into President Trump’s potential ties to Russia as well as a hush-money payoff made by his attorney.

Emelianenko’s public connection to the principals in the FBI’s investigation of Trump-Russia ties is as follows:

• Trump held a significant ownership stake in Affliction Entertainment, a fight league, which signed Emelianenko in 2008. Affliction Entertainment folded after two fights for financial reasons.

• Cohen, Trump’s attorney, was the league’s chief operating officer. Cohen’s home and offices were raided by the FBI two weeks ago in a search of documents related to Cohen’s $130,000 payoff of an adult film star, Stormy Daniels, who claims that she and Trump had an affair in 2006.

• Putin has attended Emelianenko’s fights, and the two men have posed for photos together.

Emelianenko is one of the most decorated and heralded MMA fighters in history, thoroughly dominating the sport for the decade of the 2000s. He retired in 2012, but returned to the octagon in 2015 under contract with Bellator.
Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Contact him at or find him on Twitter or on Facebook.

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