Following Emelianenko’s thrilling first-round knockout of Timothy Johnson in the main event of Bellator 269 on Saturday in Moscow, Coker spoke to the media and couldn’t help but wax poetic when asked to appraise the latest highlight from “The Last Emperor.”
“That was really special,” Coker said at the event’s post-fight virtual media scrum. “I’ve been in the fight game a long time and for him to really deliver in his hometown in front of all of his fans, it was really fun to watch. It was a real special night and like I said, being a promoter for so long there’s a few times that just capture that moment in time and really this was that night.
“I was like, wow, at 45 he can still bring it. He threw combinations at Tim that I haven’t seen for a little while, honestly. I think the pressure of him being at home really helped him. When I saw him yesterday he seemed so focused and I think a lot of it was riding on the line for him. He’s here and he’s proud to be here, all his people here, it was just an amazing night. Wow. Unbelievable.”
Flanked by Bellator Europe executive David Green, American Kickboxing Academy head coach Javier Mendez, and former UFC lightweight king Khabib Nurmagomedov, Coker was in awe of Emelianenko’s performance. It took Emelianenko just 1:46 to find Johnson’s chin and put him down for the count.
Coker agreed that it looked like Fedor, who turned 45 in September, still has plenty left in the gas tank.
“I can’t remember the last time Tim was knocked out or if he’s ever been knocked out like that,” Coker said. “Fedor, he threw some combinations at Tim that I was like, man, his hand speed is still there. His twitch speed is still there. He proved it. He proved to me he’s still the greatest of all time.
“I was sitting around David Green, and Javier Mendez, and Khabib, and we were just talking about how, ‘Jesus. Unbelievable at 45 he can still bring it like that.’ It’s unbelievable, it’s like time just stopped for him.”
Emelianenko’s 40th win and 47th pro bout was the second-last on his current contract and possibly his career, though neither he nor Bellator have made any concrete statements about when he might fight next and if that will truly be the last time he competes.
It remains possible that Emelianenko could receive one more crack at the Bellator heavyweight title, which is currently held by Ryan Bader. The two previously fought in the finals of the Bellator Heavyweight World Grand Prix in January 2019 for a vacant heavyweight title, with Bader winning by knockout in just 35 seconds.
“I’ll tell you, I haven’t talked to Fedor about it,” Coker said when asked about the promotion’s plans for Emelianenko. “I just want to enjoy this moment and I think he just wants to enjoy this moment. So talk to us in maybe two or three weeks and we’ll have an answer for you.”