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Scott Coker: Fedor Emelianenko 'made it very clear he doesn’t want to fight right now'

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Scott Coker went to Japan late last month in part because of one man: Fedor Emelianenko.

The Bellator MMA president was in attendance at the Inoki Bom-Ba-Ye show in Tokyo on New Year's Eve knowing the potential of speaking to Emelianenko about returning to the United States to fight for his organization. Coker didn't get the answer he was hoping for.

"He's made it very clear he doesn't want to fight right now," Coker said Friday night after Bellator 132 in Temecula, Calif. "He didn't say he never wants to fight. He just said right now."

Emelienenko did leave the door open, as Coker said. And Bellator would obviously be interested. The Russian legend fought for Coker under the Strikeforce banner and the two have a good relationship. Coker said his visit with Emelianenko was more of the social variety anyway. Emelianenko had his wife and kids with him at the event.

"We caught up," Coker said.

Coker said Emelianenko is very busy with his job as the ministry of sport in Russia. Basically, Fedor is running the country's MMA program for youths. Though he is just 38 years old, Emelianenko doesn't have current designs to return to the cage.

In late November 2012, UFC president Dana White has said that Emelianenko and the UFC were in deep negotiations about a fight between him and Brock Lesnar at Cowboys Stadium in Dallas. But the entire thing fell through when Emelianenko's father died. He has not expressed a desire to come back since then.

Emelianenko (34-4, 1 NC) is regarded as one of the greatest ever in MMA -- and perhaps the best heavyweight of all time. He is a former PRIDE heavyweight champion and did not lose a fight between 2001 and 2009, a stretch of 28 consecutive victories.

Fabricio Werdum broke Emelianenko's decade-long winning streak when he submitted him with a triangle choke in 2010 in Strikeforce. Emelianenko lost two in a row after that and departed the organization. The soft-spoken Russian closed his career with three straight wins against Jeff Monson, Satoshi Ishii and Pedro Rizzo with the latter coming in June 2012.

Or did he close his career? Coker would not entirely rule out a potential return for "The Last Emperor."

"You never know," Coker said.