Former Bellator MMA welterweight champion Andrey Koreshkov has flown the promotion’s flag since 2012, having compiled a 13-4 record across 17 appearance. His most recent outing on Oct. 4 resulted in a contentious split decision loss to Lorenz Larkin at Bellator 229—a fight that saw both men hit the deck and each of them apply their strengths in an attempt to tear one another apart.
“I think this fight should’ve been scored a draw, not the way that it was,” Koreshkov said. “It’s a shame that in the U.S. you can’t appeal the judges’ decisions. My team would definitely challenge it if we could.”
In this exclusive interview with Sherdog.com, Koreshkov discusses his relationship with longtime coach Alexander Shlemenko, his time as a Bellator cornerstone and the possibility of an early retirement.
Sherdog.com: Can you talk about Shlemenko not being allowed in the cage and having to buy tickets to the VIP section to coach you in your title fight against Benson Henderson in 2016? Koreshkov: It was a very ugly story. In March 2015, the California State Athletic Commission stated that Shlemenko allegedly failed a doping test. He sued the commission, and the courts reduced his suspension from three years to nine months and his fine from $10,000 to $5,000. For one reason or another, the commission then refused to allow Alexander to corner my title fight with Henderson, even though he had a seconds license. The head of the commission forbade him from even approaching the cage, so he could not give me advice. Shlemenko and I prepared for the bout carefully, and I understood his gestures, so the commission’s decision did not affect me a lot.