Despite a flood of appeals for his retirement, Fedor Emelianenko (31-4) has decided to continue his legendary heavyweight career. The former pound-for-pound king's next opponent has not yet been finalized, but the bout is expected to be held in Russia.
Emelianenko's manager -- M-1 Global President and co-founder Vadim Finkelstein -- confirmed the news Monday afternoon.
"We consulted with Fedor and it was decided that he should not leave the sport in this way." Finkelstein said in a statement released by M-1 Global. "His friends and past opponents support Fedor in continuing his career and he agreed."
"We want to organize a fight for Fedor in Russia and have already begun working in this direction. If everything goes as planned, we will produce a card in Moscow or St. Petersburg sometime in the fall with Fedor as the main event."
Finkelstein also announced that discussions are ongoing to slot Emelianenko into a New Year's Eve event within an undisclosed Japanese organization. Should such an event occur, it's likely that it would be co-promoted by M-1 Global.
Regardless, Finkelstein made clear that the 34-year-old former champion still has a few chapters left in his story, particularly within the United States, where Emelianenko has not lived up to expectations following the demise of Pride and Affliction.
"If all is successful, in 2012 we'll be back in the U.S.," Finkelstein stated. "All these ideas are being developed right now and we want to work exactly according to this plan."
Emelianenko last fought against Dan Henderson under the Strikeforce banner in July, losing by technical knockout in the first round. It was a third loss in a row for the Russian, who was promptly released by Zuffa after the event.