New joke: when does a mixed martial arts octagon turn into the squared circle of jail? Punchline – when Michael Cohen is involved. It now appears that the raid on Cohen’s office and residences has turned up more questions about Cohen, Trump and the ties to Russia and Vladimir Putin. The latest explosive disclosure in The Washington Post is that the agent for the MMA fighter has confirmed that the fighter, Fedor Emelianenko, met with FBI agents in Chicago last week.
Emelianenko has been photographed with Putin at some of his fights, and the news is that Emelianenko and Trump go back as far as 2008. If one does a Google search, “Emelianenko and Putin,” you will find many photos of Putin and Emelianenko together, including ones where Emelianenko appeared to be fresh from a fight. Trump owned a stake in a fight organization that Emelianenko headlined twice. The organization, Affliction Entertainment, has as its Chief Operating Officer someone who was very close to Trump, but who knows these days- Cohen. Affliction went out of business after the two events where Emelianenko headlined.
Emelianenko had retired from the MMA scene but made a comeback in 2015 and continues to fight. He was in Rosemont, Illinois, for a fight when the FBI showed up at his hotel room and interviewed him. He and his agent are remaining tight lipped about the topic of conversation, but it raises additional questions about the ties to Russia.
According to the London newspaper, The Telegraph, which first reported the FBI’s interest and meeting with Emelianenko, Trump not only had an interest in Afflicted, but a “significant stake,” in Affliction. There are numerous stories describing Putin’s relationship with Emelianenko and his love for combat sports. As noted, Cohen was in a place of prominence in Affliction and Trump was described by The Telegraph as becoming “a front man for” Affliction. Given these additional connections between Trump and Russia and Putin, it is no surprise that this is another potential avenue of inquiry for prosecutors, including Special Counsel Robert Mueller, to determine how deep (and what) the Trump/Putin relationship means.