Fedor Emelianenko says it is a ‘shock’ that Russians “are fleeing the draft” after Putin announced Russian mobilization

vladimir putin fedor emelianenko
Photo Credit: Vladimir Rodionov/EPA

The legendary MMA fighter Fedor Emelianenko recently commented on reports that Russians are fleeing the country to avoid being drafted. The former Russian military member Emelianenko said that this is ‘shocking.’

In February 2022, Russia invaded Ukraine. Two weeks ago, President of Russia Vladimir Putin announced a draft and mobilization of new military members. Russian defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said that over 200,000 people have been drafted. Although many men in the country have instead chosen to flee or cause self-injury to avoid being sent to the front.

According to Bloomberg, over 400,000 people have fled to neighboring countries such as Georgia, Kazakhstan, or Mongolia. Some men have even taken extreme measures such as self-mutilation to avoid the draft. Forbes explains, “search terms like “how to break an arm,” “how to break an arm at home” or “how to break a leg” spiked on Google (which is still used by millions in Russia) in the days after the draft was announced.”

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The Soviet-born heavyweight Emelianenko reacted to this news in an interview with Championat. “The Last Emperor,” said:

“There are different [reactions] in my environment, people have different thoughts, questions arise. But for me personally, it was a great discovery and a slight shock when you read the news in our country, what is happening in the military registration and enlistment offices and that people are fleeing the draft.” [Translation from Russian to English courtesy of Google Translate]

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Vladimir Putin and Fedor Emelianenko have been friends for years and the two have even trained in martial arts together. Putin publicly thanked Fedor for his services in combat sports. In 2012, Putin said, “I want to congratulate Fedor and thank him from all of us, martial arts fans. It is because of him this sport became so popular in our country.” Heavyweight great Emelianenko said, in 2015, the Russian President, “Vladimir Putin is made of steel.”

Fedor Emelianenko the Heavyweight Great

“The Last Emperor” Fedor Emelianenko is one of the greatest talents in MMA history. This legendary fighter was a standout champion in Combat Sambo, a Russian-designed martial art. After transitioning to MMA, Emelianenko would pick up the legendary PRIDE FC heavyweight title and rule the division with an iron fist.

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In his illustrious career, Fedor Emelianenko defeated fighters such as former UFC Champions “Rampage” Quinton Jackson, Frank Mir, Tim Sylvia, Andrei Arlovski, Mark Coleman, Antônio Rodrigo Nogueira, Kevin Randleman, and many others in his lengthy tenure.

Since making his debut in Bellator he has earned a record of 4-2. The 46-year-old heavyweight knows he does not have much time left in his MMA career but has requested a final fight against Ryan Bader as he would like to avenge his earlier loss.