Maldonado appeal to Russian MMA Union denied by VP, Fedor’s old training partner

Fabio Maldonado is quickly coming to the realization that defiance in Russia resembles a toddler attacking a brick wall. It began when the Brazilian…

By: Karim Zidan | 7 years ago
Maldonado appeal to Russian MMA Union denied by VP, Fedor’s old training partner
Bloody Elbow 2.0 | Anton Tabuena

Fabio Maldonado is quickly coming to the realization that defiance in Russia resembles a toddler attacking a brick wall.

It began when the Brazilian UFC veteran, who clobbered arguably the greatest heavyweight of all time in the opening round of the Eurasian Fight Nights: 50 main event, lost a majority decision that was highly contested on social media. Maldonado, who many believed won the opening round 10-8 because of his multiple knockdowns, lost the fight because two of the judges awarded him a 10-9 for his effort in the opening round. The overall score was 29-28,28-28,29-28.

The dejected Maldonado immediately informed that he was not impressed with the outcome of the fight and could not understand how Fedor was awarded the victory.

“For the love of God, he almost fell several times,” Maldonado told Guilherme Cruz. “Everybody knows (the first round) was at least 10-8, or even a 10-7. He punched me close to the fence, but I was there because I really wanted him to attack.”

Little did Fabio know that the Russian MMA Union was headed by longtime president Fedor Emelianenko. All the officials assigned to the EFN 50 main event were put in a position where they had to work their own boss’ fight. That glaring conflict of interest was magnified when the final decision was announced.

Shortly thereafter, Maldonado’s team announced that they would appeal the decision to the Russian MMA Union.

We’re very happy with Fabio’s performance, he made everything right inside the cage. One of our main goals was to show the world the fighter he truly is and what he can do when he is 100% focused, and we did that. But we went there focused on winning and we feel like the judges took that away from us. The promoters didn’t agree with the result and most of the fighters who were there also think the result was strange.

Round 1 was clearly a 10-8 for us, Round 2 Fedor got a close 10-9 and round 3 was very close but we think Maldonado got the better shots. It was a least a draw, and we will appeal to Russian MMA Union to review this result. (h/t

Their attempt was futile. In less than 24 hours, the Russian MMA Union had denied Maldonado’s appeal.

According to an official statement from the Union, it was the Vice-President of the Union of MMA in Russia, chairman of the All-Russian Collegium of Judges and the Chief Justice of the World MMA Association (WMMAA), Radmir Gabdullin, who took the decision and publicized his comments. was the first to report this information.

“I’m sure that each of the judges with all the responsibility came to the assessment of this battle,” Gabdullin said in the statement. “For this mission we have specially selected the most professional staff. Boy judges evaluated impartially, independently and competitors there is no reason to doubt their impartiality.”

Gabudullin, a former M-1 Global fighter and training partner of the ‘Last Emperor,’ explained that Maldonado was supposed to announce his intent for an appeal within 40 minutes after the conclusion of the EFN 50 main event.

“There were no protests in the judicial decision of the Union of MMA in Russia and the World Association of WMMA side Maldonado not filed in officially prescribed manner.”

Gabdullin works closely with Fedor and regularly trains with him in Stary Oskol.

Here he is celebrating Fedor’s victory at EFN 50 with the entire team (white button up shirt):

50!!! С Юбилеем #fightnights !

A photo posted by Radmir (@gabdullin_mma_official) on

Fedor’s return to mixed martial arts accentuated the troubling issues plaguing Russian MMA and its governing body. Maldonado, who appeared to enjoy his first impression of St. Petersburg as he was paraded through the streets ahead of his fight, is only the latest to deal with its shortcomings.

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About the author
Karim Zidan
Karim Zidan

Karim Zidan is a investigative reporter and feature writer focusing on the intersection of sports and politics. He has written for BloodyElbow since 2014 and has served as an associate editor since 2016. He also writes for The New York Times and The Guardian. Karim has been invited to speak about his work at numerous universities, including Princeton, and was a panelist at the South by Southwest (SXSW) film festival and the Oslo Freedom Forum. He also participated in the United Nations counter-terrorism conference in 2021. His reporting on Ramzan Kadyrov’s involvement in MMA, much of which was done for Bloody Elbow, has led to numerous award nominations, and was the basis of an award-winning HBO Real Sports documentary.

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