POLLOCK’S MMA UPDATE: Fedor Emelianenko announcement on Friday

Bellator to make Fedor Emelianenko announcement, Latest on Yoel Romero case, New complaint filed against UFC, UFC & PFL TV numbers & more.

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POST IT NOTES

**On Friday, we will have a bonus POST News Update show with Wai Ting and I catching up on all the latest news. We will not have a live show on Friday night but will have one on Saturday at 10:15 p.m. ET for all members of the POST Wrestling Café as we review SmackDown & Saturday Night Dynamite.

**On Friday, Eric Marcotte will have a report on the PFL event headlined by Kayla Harrison and Cindy Dandois and will also be covering the UFC Fight Night event on Saturday with Alexander Volkov vs. Ciryl Gane.

**SummerSlam 2002 is the subject of this month’s edition of Bushby & Thompson’s Wrestling Adventure as they go back to August 2002 for one of the most popular SummerSlams of all time featuring The Rock vs. Brock Lesnar, the return of Shawn Michaels, and more.

MMA NEWS

**Bellator is holding a press conference Friday morning involving Fedor Emelianenko with a special announcement. Bellator CEO Scott Coker and analyst John McCarthy will be part of the press conference as well. Ariel Helwani reports that Emelianenko is expected to fight for Bellator in October with an opponent TBD. Emelianenko has not fought since December 2019 when he defeated Quinton Jackson by TKO and will be 45-years old by the time that fight takes place.

**Bloody Elbow has reported what could be a major story. The site noted that a new complaint has been filed in Nevada against the UFC on behalf of fighters Kajan Johnson and CB Dollaway as a class action on behalf of other fighters. Bloody Elbow noted that the suit is nearly identical to the major antitrust suit that was filed in 2014 and is ongoing against the UFC, although this new complaint would extend the class period from July 1, 2017, to the present while the current antitrust suit had a class period from December 16, 2010, to June 30, 2017, covering the fighters that fought for the promotion during that period.

Reporter John Nash, who has been at the forefront covering the antitrust suit put together a video several months ago explaining the suit and what it could mean for the UFC:

**The case involving former UFC fighter Yoel Romero and Goldstar Performance Products saw a final ruling issued on Thursday. The news of the judgment came from Jason Morrin, who went through the case. This stems from Romero’s positive drug test following his December 2015 win against Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza that led to a six-month suspension by USADA. Romero and his team successfully argued that it was caused by a tainted supplement from Goldstar (they found ibutamoren in the supplement) and they sued the company and were awarded a judgment of $27.45 million in 2019 for lost wages, reputational damage, and infliction of emotional distress. With prejudgment interest and costs, the total judgment was $27,653,147.

In Jason Morrin’s post, he noted that Goldstar filed a motion to vacate the judgment, however it was filed past the deadline.

Thursday’s ruling upheld the treble damages on lost wages totaling $9,450,000, awarded $3,000,0000 for emotional distress but reversed the trebling of the original amount because “there is no ascertainable loss”. They added in the judgment ruling to “remand the matter to the trial court for reconsideration of its award for reputational damages. If awarded, the trial court shall determine whether such damages constitute ascertainable loss under the CFA subject to trebling.”

Regarding Romero’s ability to collect on the judgment, they can collect from the company, although it’s possible they could claim to be insolvent and file for bankruptcy. If that were to occur, the onus would be on Romero to prove personal liability on behalf of the officer of the company and that will be tough to do. Romero’s team would have to prove egregious negligence and it’s unknown if this case would fall into that threshold.

**Bellator 261 takes place on Friday night from Uncasville, Connecticut, and the main card airs on Showtime. The main event features a heavyweight fight between Timothy Johnson and Valentin Moldavsky to crown an interim champion while Ryan Bader competes in the Light Heavyweight World Grand Prix tournament. Johnson (15-6) is coming off wins over Tyrell Fortune, Matt Mitrione, and Cheick Kongo in 2020, so he was right at the doorstep of a title fight with Bader prior to the Grand Prix. Moldavsky (10-1) came from Rizin and is 5-0 in Bellator with decision wins against Linton Vassell, Javy Ayala, and Roy Nelson in his last three fights. Neither fighter has ever gone five rounds, so that’s a unique part of the equation for this one.

Here is the full fight card for Bellator 261 including the results from Thursday’s weigh-in:

MAIN CARD (9 p.m. ET on Showtime)
*Interim Heavyweight Championship: Timothy Johnson (260) vs. Valentin Moldavsky (234)
*Liz Carmouche (125.5) vs. Kana Watanabe (125.25) – Carmouche is 2-0 in Bellator and could be in line for the winner when flyweight champion Juliana Velasquez fights Denise Kielholtz on July 16th. Watanabe is 10-0-1 and also 2-0 in Bellator, although Carmouche is a very tough match-up for any of the flyweights and is the betting favorite on Friday.
*Daniel Weichel (145.5) vs. Keoni Diggs (146)
*Myles Jury (156) vs. Sidney Outlaw (156)
*Christian Edwards (206) vs. Simon Biyong (204.5)

PRELIMINARY CARD (6:30 p.m. ET on Bellator.com)
*Bobby Lee (155.25) vs. Soren Bak (156)
*Isaiah Hokit (155.75) vs. Corey Samuels (156)
*Cody Matthews (135) vs. Jaylon Bates (136)
*Taylor Johnson (185.25) vs. Lance Wright (184.75)
*John de Jesus (145.5) vs. John Teixeira (144.75)

**The candidates for Best MMA Fighter for the annual ESPY Awards have been announced:
*Francis Ngannou – He knocked out Jairzinho Rozenstruik in twenty seconds and followed by avenging his loss to Stipe Miocic this past March to become the UFC heavyweight champion that displayed marked improvement from his performance against Miocic in 2018.
*Amanda Nunes – The top female fighter in the world with a stranglehold on both the UFC’s 135- and 145-pound weight divisions. She did not fight at bantamweight this past year but defended the featherweight title twice with a decision victory against Felicia Spencer last June and ran through Megan Anderson this past March with a submission in the first round.
*Khabib Nurmagomedov – In 2020, he retired after defeating Justin Gaethje at UFC 254 and left the sport undefeated and an argument in the discussion for greatest fighter of all time.
*Rose Namajunas – After losing the 115-pound title to Jessica Andrade in 2019, she took fourteen months off and returned to avenge that loss with a split decision against Andrade (who had since lost the title to Zhang Weili). Namajunas capped off her return by regaining the title this past April with a highlight-reel head kick on Weili and finished her to become a two-time champion.

**This past weekend’s UFC Fight Night card saw the prelims airing from 4-7 p.m. ET average 317,000 viewers and 0.09 in the 18-49 demographic on ESPN2. The main card drew less with 275,000 viewers but 0.10 in the demo. There was nothing on the prelims that was exceptionally noteworthy as the prelims were headlined by Nicolae Negumereanu vs. Aleksa Camur. The main card featured a five-round fight where Chan Sung Jung defeated Dan Ige by unanimous decision. There was a major factor with the NBA playoff game airing at 8:30 p.m. ET, which did a massive figure of 6,906,000 viewers while the NHL playoffs on the USA Network averaged 1,319,000 viewers. (Spoiler TV)

**Last Thursday’s PFL event averaged 62,000 viewers and 0.02 in the 18-49 demographic on ESPN2. The card was headlined by the controversial fight between Gleison Tibau and Rory MacDonald that Tibau won by split-decision and was heavily criticized. (Spoiler TV)

**This Saturday’s UFC Fight Night card is a special afternoon show on ESPN+. The prelims begin at 1 p.m. ET on the streaming platform with the main card streaming at 4 p.m. The card is headlined by a heavyweight fight between Ciryl Gane (8-0) and Alexander Volkov (33-8). Gane has been touted as a future superstar and is coming off major wins against Junior dos Santos and Jairzinho Rozenstruik, so this is another big fight for him to elevate his status at heavyweight.

**Sean Brady announced on Instagram that his fight with Kevin Lee at UFC 264 is off. Ariel Helwani spoke with Brady, who said Lee suffered a rib injury.

**The new main event for the UFC Fight Night card on July 17th will be a lightweight contest between Islam Makhachev and Thiago Moises. The news was broken by John Morgan of MMA Junkie with the new fight replacing Max Holloway vs. Yair Rodriguez after Holloway withdrew due to an injury. After losing his UFC debut, Makhachev (19-1) has run through the lightweight division and racked up seven consecutive wins with his latest a submission against Drew Dober at UFC 259 this past March. Moises (15-4) has a three-fight winning streak going back to May 2020 with victories over Michael Johnson, Bobby Green, and Alexander Hernandez. The July 17th card will also feature the return of former bantamweight champion Miesha Tate as she takes on Marion Reneau in Tate’s first fight since UFC 205 in November 2016. Volkov has had setbacks in the UFC with losses to Derrick Lewis and Curtis Blaydes but is coming off a pair of TKO victories against Walt Harris and Alistair Overeem.

**PFL commentator Randy Couture spoke with MMA Fighting about the antitrust suit against the UFC and his push for the Muhammad Ali Act to extend to mixed martial arts. Couture also spoke about the strategy Conor McGregor could have implemented when he received a boxing license in 2017 to fight Floyd Mayweather Jr.

**UFC welterweight Stephen Thompson was a guest on Submission Radio promoting his fight against Gilbert Burns at UFC 264 next month. Thompson spoke about Leon Edwards’ recent win against Nate Diaz and thought Edwards needed to do more to finish the fight and that Diaz came away with a lot of attention despite the loss. His advice to Diaz was to move back to lightweight. Thompson, 38, is in a unique spot where he is one of the few welterweights that Kamaru Usman has not fought yet. Dana White has repeatedly stated that Colby Covington is next in line for Usman, although it has not been made official.

**Todd Martin at Sherdog looks at the success of the UFC’s pay-per-view business and the added depth to its cards. Due to the ongoing set-up at the UFC Apex, Martin argues that the UFC has not had to rely on stacking Fight Night events to sell tickets as evidenced by some of the main events they have put on television. As Martin notes, this will eventually change once Fight Night cards go back on the road, although Dana White has said they expect to keep the Fight Nights at the Apex for the foreseeable future, but not permanently.

**Brian Campbell spoke with Showtime analyst Al Bernstein about the “The Kings” documentary series airing on the network. I’ve watched the first three episodes and the fourth airs this Sunday night and it’s been excellent. It’s a profile of the ‘80s golden age involving Sugar Ray Leonard, Thomas Hearns, Marvin Hagler, and Roberto Duran that does a tremendous job tying their upbringings to their respective careers and focusing on what the fights meant for both winners and losers that illustrates how significant these figures were in boxing and outside of it. Of all the interview subjects, Teddy Atlas is phenomenal when it comes to weaving the themes of boxing and its cultural placement.

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About John Pollock 5646 Articles
Born on a Friday, John Pollock is a reporter, editor & podcaster at POST Wrestling. He runs and owns POST Wrestling alongside Wai Ting.