Ever wonder what gym Fedor Emelianenko calls home? Based out of St. Petersburg, Russia, Emieianenko, his brothers Aleksander and Ivan, his childhood coaches Vladimir Voronov, and Aleksander Michkov, and many other Strikeforce favorites call Red Devil Sport Club home.
Red Devil Sport Club began as a Combat Sambo training ground and as recently as the union of Red Devil and the Emelianenkos in 2005 has migrated with quick succession in the direction of mixed martial arts. Most of the athletes are Russian or Armenian and train in a variety of specialties ranging from Sambo to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu to Muay Thai to MMA. Founded by Vadim Finkelstein, also the creator of M-1 Global, an MMA promotion naming stars such as Arman Gambaryan and Ibragim Magomedov.
With the strength of F. Emelianenko and currently the rise in fame of his brothers, many MMA stronghands (Victor Nemkov (below) and Aleksander Garkushenko, for example) were drawn to train at the Red Devil. The team has created a strong name for itself by consistently performing as one of the top MMA teams in Russia since the start of M-1.
For spiritual reasons, F. Emelianenko requested that the Red Devil Team be referred to as the Imperial Team. The name stuck around after due to Emelianenko’s excessive fame. He is easily considered the top MMA artist in the sport.
In 2009, A. Emelianenko left Red Devil with little to no explanation but continues to practice with is brothers, coaches, and family friends.
As 2008 M-1 Challenge Champions, Imperial Team entered the 2009 challenge looking for success. They came up short, failing to win the competition this year, largely due to the constant change in fighters. Imperial Team often encourages newer fighter to be entered into the fight so that they may gain experience. While this is a kind gesture and good training strategy for the athletes, it is not helping the team overall. The team will be looking to reclaim their title in 2010.