Fedor on Fight Pass. Yeah, that's a real thing.
Legendary MMA heavyweight Fedor Emelianenko will meet Fabio Maldonado under the Eurasian Fight Nights banner June 17 in Russia. The card -- and that main event -- will air live on UFC Fight Pass. EFN has a broadcast deal with Fight Pass, but it was unknown until an announcement Saturday night that Emelianenko's fight would air on the UFC's digital service.
JUST ANNOUNCED: Fedor Emelianenko LIVE on @UFCFightPass at #EFN50! Check out Ultimate Fedor: https://t.co/5KKpiLuTOr pic.twitter.com/Qmg8Wc5yfQ— UFC Fight Pass (@UFCFightPass) June 5, 2016
Emelianenko's appearance on Fight Pass is almost ironic. The UFC has tried for years unsuccessfully to sign "The Last Emperor." Now, the promotion will have him fighting on its digital network without actually paying him for it. Maldonado is also a UFC veteran.
Emelianenko (35-4, 1 NC) is coming off a first-round submission (punches) on New Year's Eve for Rizin Fighting Federation. The Russian great's contract status after the Maldonado fight is ambiguous. He has mentioned in interviews that he is still talking to the UFC.
Though he's 39 years old, Emelianenko going to the UFC would still be a major coup for the organization. Most of the UFC's ranked heavyweight are in their upper-30s and Emelianenko has a history with some of them. Many interesting fights could result.
But for now, UFC fans will have to settle for watching him on Fight Pass. Not a bad consolation prize.