Maldonado initially lost to Fedor by a controversial majority decision. Following what he, his team, and many onlookers felt was an unjust decision, Maldonado filed an appeal with the Russian MMA Union, which assigned the officials that worked the fight. Maldonado cited a conflict of interest since Fedor is the president of the Russian MMA Union.
Russian MMA Union vice president Radmir Gabdullin denied Maldonado’s appeal, reportedly because he hadn’t filed it within 40 minutes of the announcement of the decision. Gabdullin is a former M-1 Global fighter. M-1 Global is a Russian promotion of which Fedor is part owner.
Maldonado’s manager, Stefano Sartori, then took the fight to a higher level, the World MMA Association, which includes the Russian MMA Union as one of its member organizations. Sartori requested the WMMAA assign its own set of judges to review and score the fight due to the initial conflict of interest and the unjustly rejected appeal.
In ruling on the matter, Alexander Engelhardt, Senior Vice President and Secretary General of the WMMAA, said, “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.
“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.
“Regarding the second criterion. Marco Broersen as Head of the Professional Referees has selected three judges who were not working at the fight to judge the Maldonado vs Fedor fight.”
The judges Broersen selected were Youri Lamoureux of Canada, Lukasz Bosacki of Poland, and Alexey Zemskov of Russia. All three judges scored the fight a 28-28 draw.
As such, upon the advice of Broersen, the WMMAA officially changed the result of the bout to a unanimous draw. The decision was communicated to Fight Nights (the promotion which made the bout), Fedor Emelianenko, the Russian MMA Union, and Stefano Sartori.
The Russian Union of MMA, however, refuses to honor the WMMAA’s decision.
“The result of the battle can not be changed,” Gabdullin said in a comment to Russian news outlet tass.ru. “(WMMAA) can express their views, but do not have the right to influence the judges’ decision on the Russian professional promotion.
“This situation I regard as an unfounded attempt to take a well-deserved victory for the Russian fighter legend Fedor Emelianenko.”
Fedor Emelianenko vs. Fabio Maldonado Full Fight Video
(Video courtesy of REN TV)