Fedor Emelianenko is one of the greatest heavyweight fighters in the history of mixed martial arts (MMA), which is an extremely brutal and violent sport. Fedor Emelianenko also happens to be a Russian who has been seen extensively through the years with one of his biggest supporters: Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Unless you are a fan and follow MMA you probably had never heard of Fedor Emelianenko until this week, when he got a visit from the FBI agents who had raided Michael Cohen’s offices in New York. And now many people have heard of the Russian fighter, and they are starting to ask all sorts of questions.
For instance, since the FBI confiscated 16 of Cohen’s cell phones, did they find a history of calls between the fixer and the fighter? It is entirely possible, because as layers of the onion are peeled away many new connections among Emelianenko, Cohen, Donald Trump and Putin have become visible. And they may be pointing the FBI criminal investigations in entirely new directions.
Here’s where a little history is in order, because it will show that all four people are part of the same tangled web which is being untangled by the FBI and perhaps Robert Mueller.
- Putin has attended Emelianenko’s fights many times through the years, and Google searches prove that he has often been photographed with the Russian president.
- He has known Donald Trump since 2008 when he was signed by Affliction Entertainment, an MMA professional sports league partly owned by Trump. In fact, Trump announced a joint venture with Emelianenko at a news conference on June 5, 2008.
- Cohen was Affliction Entertainment’s chief operating officer.
According to his manager, Jerry Millen, Emelianenko was interviewed by the FBI on Tuesday shortly before he had an MMA fight scheduled in the Chicago area.
“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.”
So what does it all mean? For the skeptical among us who believe Putin, Trump and Cohen have been committing and covering up crimes for years, it may mean that the FBI has found that an unsuspecting athlete was caught in a tangled web of international money laundering and other crimes.
We don’t know what Mueller knows, or what the FBI knows, so we can only guess, based on the FBI and Department of Justice actions that we can observe. Nobody is saying the fighter is in trouble, but nobody is saying why the FBI met with him either.
However, when there are so many connections, it is not unreasonable to think that perhaps Emelianenko’s past business dealings with Putin, Trump and Cohen may be the subject of ongoing FBI investigation. If that’s true, the FBI may have found one more star witness who is able to testify about what he has seen, heard and done. And that may be just one more piece of bad news for the president and his fixer.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.