Bare Knuckle FC (BKFC) is fresh off of the promotion’s biggest event ever, BKFC 6. The event, which was headlined by a grudge match between former boxing champion Paulie Malignaggi (0-1 BKFC) and UFC veteran Artem Lobov (2-0 BFKC), reportedly brought in over 200,000 PPV buys.
Yet despite posting record numbers, BKFC is not content to sit back on their heels. Speaking to The Body Lock, BKFC President David Feldman confirmed that the promotion is currently “in talks” with Russian heavyweight Aleksander Emelianenko (28-7-1 MMA).
Emelianenko, 37, is a veteran of PRIDE, M-1 Global, Russan Cagefighting Championship (RCC), and World Fighting Championship Akhmat (WFCA), among other promotions.
The brother of legendary MMA champion Fedor Emelianenko, Aleksander has faced a who’s who of opponents, including Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipović, Fabricio Werdum, Josh Barnett, Sergei Kharitonov, Jeff Monson, and Bob Sapp.
An accomplished sambo practitioner, Emelianenko has also shown off an impressive stand-up game. The Russian has scored 20 of his 28 professional victories by way of knockout, something that certainly caught the eye of BKFC.
Emelianenko has also experienced his fair share of controversy. In May of 2015, Emelianenko was convicted on charges of sexual assault stemming from the rape of his then-housekeeper. The verdict called for a four and a half year sentence, but Emelianenko was released on parole just over a year later, in October of 2016.
Emelianenko resumed his MMA career in 2017 and kicked off a six-fight, multi-year unbeaten streak. Of those six, the 37-year-old scored five knockouts and a draw to Tony Johnson, Jr.
Recently, Emelianenko was released by Russian promotion RCC in the wake of a drunk driving incident this May.
Should the talks between Emelianenko and BKFC progress, any fight in BKFC would mark Emelianenko’s debut in the promotion and the sport of bare-knuckle boxing. Additionally, a potential fight would be the heavyweight’s first since August of 2018.
Michael Fiedel is The Body Lock's deputy editor, a staff writer for FloCombat, and a Russell-Rice scholarship recipient at Vanderbilt University.