The World MMA Association announced on Friday that it has overturned Fedor Emelianenko’s June 17 victory over Fabio Maldonado to a draw.
Emelianenko initially took a majority decision triumph against Maldonado in the Eurasia Fight Nights 50 in St. Petersburg, Russia. Maldonado had “The Last Emperor” reeling in round one, dropping him with a combination and swarming for a finish in what many observers thought was a clear 10-8 frame. Emelianenko recovered over the final 10 minutes, which were much more competitive. Two of the judges submitted 29-28 scorecards in favor of the Russian to give him the victory, while a third saw it 28-28.
Shortly thereafter, Stefano Sartori, Maldonado’s manager, filed an appeal stating that the bout should be either ruled a draw or a victory for the UFC veteran.
The WMMAA elected to overturn the draw based on a conflict of interest with Emelianenko as well as issues regarding the three judges who were assigned to score the bout.
“The fact that the fighter, Fedor Emelianenko, being the President of the Russian MMA Union and the Head of Judge, Radmir Gabdullin, have a work relationship could potentially affected the judgmental decisions. We are not saying that this relationship has led to a different outcome of the result, but it is an unfortunate choice,” WMMAA Secretary General Alexander Engelhardt wrote.
“Another mistake made was the refusing of the appeal. This is was based on the Amateur rules of the WMMAA and this fight was done under the professional rules of WMMAA.”
Additionally, WMMAA Head Judge Marco Broerson assigned three new judges — Youri Lamoureaux, Lukasz Bosacki and Alexey Zemskov — to judge the heavyweight contest after the fact. All three scored the bout a 28-28 draw.
“The attached letter of Marco Broersen with the advice to change the result to ‘Unanimous Draw’ will be accepted by the WMMAA. This decision will be announced to Fight Nights and communicated with the Fedor Emelianenko, the Russian MMA Union and Stefano Sartori,” Engelhardt wrote.
“With this decision I will consider the Appeal to be [officially] closed.”
While WMMAA overturned the verdict, the Russian MMA Union has not accepted the ruling. Gabdullin told Tass.ru that the “result cannot be overturned.”
"The WMMAA can express their views, but do not have the right to influence the judge's decision on the Russian professional promotion,” Gabdullin said. “This situation I regard as an unfounded attempt to take away a well-deserved victory from Russian legend Fedor Emelianenko.”