By PATRICK ROSE
ROSEMONT, Ill. (AP) — A Russian mixed martial arts fighter who has connections with President Donald Trump, the president’s personal attorney Michael Cohen and Russian President Vladimir Putin was questioned this week by the FBI, his manager confirmed Saturday. Fedor Emelianenko was questioned by agents who met him in his hotel room on Tuesday, manager Jerry Millen said before Emelianenko’s Bellator MMA heavyweight fight against Frank Mir. Millen declined to detail his client’s conversations with the agents.
“The FBI came to the hotel looking to talk to Fedor and they were very nice, came in to speak with Fedor for a few minutes, spoke to me, very cool guys, and that’s all I can really say about it. Again, the FBI did come to the hotel, they found us, knocked on the door,” Millen said. “Hundred percent, kind of surprised,” Millen added. “They were very nice, very professional.” The agents were in attendance at Saturday’s fight, Millen said. Putin has attended Emelianenko’s fights, and the 41-year-old fighter has been photographed with the Russian president. His connection with Trump dates back to 2008, when he was signed by Affliction Entertainment, a fight league in which Trump had an ownership stake.
Trump announced a joint venture involving MMA and Emelianenko at a news conference on June 5, 2008. Affliction ended up folding for financial reasons after two events, both headlined by Emelianenko. Cohen was the league’s chief operating officer. Two weeks ago, the FBI raided Cohen’s New York offices, hotel and home, seeking information about a nondisclosure agreement he brokered with porn star Stormy Daniels days before the 2016 election. Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, has said she had an affair with Trump in 2006.
The criminal investigation of Cohen is linked to special counsel Robert Mueller’s ongoing probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election and possible collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian officials. The fighter’s encounter with the FBI was first reported by The Telegraph of London. Emelianenko dominated MMA’s heavyweight division from 2000-2010. He retired in 2012 but began fighting again in 2015. He’s currently under contract with Bellator.