Calling Out Fedor: The Man The Myth The Legend
Fedor "The Last Emperor/Cyborg" Emelianenko is not a new topic for the Heavy weight MMA world. He is the current Affliction/WAMMA, former Pride heavy weight champion. A figure of controversy among fans, most consider him to be the greatest MMA fighter active today and possibly ever.
At 6' and 233 lbs. he is small by modern heavy weight standards, with a slightly flabby physic he looks as if he could cut weight to make 205. Yet he demolishes larger opponents with incredible power and skill. The man seems to have an iron will and freakish mental discipline.
The name Fedor is always in the infamous pound for pound mix with the likes of Anderson Silva, Miguel Torres, and George St. Pierre.
The quiet humble Sambo warrior of Russia is not one to boast, I've never seen an interview or article where the man claims to be anything other than dedicated to his love of the fight.
So why the harsh critics and calling out of a man who doesn't really trash talk or self hype at all? The answer is simple; it's all the attention he garners and the fact that he is one of the men if not the man to beat these days.
His History in MMA
Fedor has an impressive record of 30-1-0 with that one loss being a stoppage at 18 seconds into the fight against Tsuyoshi Kohsaka way back in 2000 in Fedors fifth professional MMA bout. An illegal elbow caused a cut over Fedors eye and rather than calling it a no contest it was declared a TKO.
Fedor later avenged that loss in a brutal beating at Pride Bushido 6 in 2005. Fedor made the man quit because Kohsakas reputation was a fighter who never quit. After a ten minute first round of punishment Kohsaka could not answer the bell for the second round.
Since that one "loss" in 2000 Fedor had a no contest with Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira in 2004 but that's it. He's fought and beaten a list of fighters that reads like a who's who in MMA.
Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira(twice), Ricardo Arona,Renato Sobral, Semmy Schilt, Heath Herrring, Kazuyuki Fujita, Mark Coleman(twice), Kevin Randleman, Mirko "cro-cop" Filipovic, Mark Hunt, Tim Sylvia and, Andre Arlovski.
Fedor was criticized for his lack of quality opponents during early 2007 into mid 2008 after Pride was bought by UFC. He only fought twice once in April 07 against a blown up Matt Linland who usually fought at 185 and a freak show fight against 7' 400lb Korean kick boxer Hung Man Choi at the end of 07. This was Chois second MMA fight.
While neither fight can be considered fair to his opponents, Fedor fought who he could at the time. But critics neglect the obvious which is that fighters have to deal with contracts to fight in any major organizations.
UFC tried to get the notorious Russian warrior but, ultimately negotiations fell apart mainly due to UFC's adamant insistence that Fedor could not compete in his yearly Sambo tournaments.
So this in and of itself wasn't really a surprise as Fedor's people were used to dealing with Japanese promoters who do business a lot differently than Dana White. What was surprising was UFC champion at the time Randy Couture departing the UFC to pursue a fight with the man he deemed " the best heavy weight in the world " , Fedor.
While Couture attempted to negate his UFC contract for sixteen month's he realized he was a fighter not a lawyer. So he returned to UFC. During his time away Fedor would fight two former UFC heavyweight champions.
The first Tim Sylvia was Fedors first credible opponent in nearly two years. When the two met in July of 2008 Fedor dismantled Sylvia in a mere 36 seconds. Something no one had done to Sylvia prior to this fight.
Next he battles Andre Arlovski in January of 2009. While he looked to be in trouble against Arlovski in his most recent bout Fedor capitalized on an over zealous moment by Arlovski and knocked him out in mid air while the former UFC champion tried for a flying knee. This ended in the first round.
Next he is set to fight another former UFC champion and Pride veteran Josh Barnett in a bout long over due to many MMA fans myself included.
Now one thing that cracks me up is that both Arlovski and Sylvia are top ten Heavy weights before the Fedor fight but suddenly they are UFC wash outs when the lose. Top ten is top ten no matter if your fighting in the largest or smallest venue.
Yet he still gets called out because he is that good in my opinion. But it's how he is called out now that makes me laugh out loud. I was inspired to write this when I saw a Q/A session with UFC commentator Mike Goldberg and UFC interim HW champion Frank Mir.
Eventually Fedor comes up and the proceed to throw an NFL analogy out there comparing UFC to the NFL and if Fedor wants to be regarded as the best he should come to UFC. Mir also states he would love to fight Fedor but only in UFC.
There are many things wrong with this statement. First one does not just come to UFC. Unless a day comes when you hear " OH Lord is that Fedors music? It is here he comes over the top of the cage Fedor is here! ". This would be like WWE and I am sure some folks would love to see MMA degenerate into a soap opera for men this should never happen.
Second how can you call a guy out but then say he has to come to you? Basically it's easy to say you want the fight but, so far only Randy Couture truly went out of his way to pursue it.
Third there is a reason Dana White doesn't send his top boys over to Affliction to fight Fedor. It doesn't do any good to have the credibility of your top guys titles and ranks destroyed by a fighter you don't employee.
In conclusion if Fedor ever comes to UFC I will be all for watching to see how he does in the cage and how he matches up with their Heavy weights. At this point I just don't see it happening. Even if Affliction goes under Fedor would likely return to Japan and fight in Dream.
The real answer lies in an idea UFC utterly abhors which is cross promotion. This would be best for fans first and foremost but, someone losses serious revenue in the long run and that would be UFC.
Smaller venues like Affliction and Strikeforce have nothing to lose swapping fighters but UFC is king especially in the USA. As king they need to make decisions based on profit as well and, it makes no business sense for them to take the risk and give the competition exposure through a merged fight card.
Either way Fedor doesn't go around tooting his own horn as the greatest his actions in the ring do that for him. In no way is it his fault that he doesn't fight in UFC. But let us all acknowledge that Fedor himself fights whomever they put in front of him and that's all a fighter in modern times can really do.
Just ask Randy Couture what it was like to play lawyer for sixteen months.