Former pound for pound king Fedor Emelianenko suffered another loss against Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva at Sunday‘s Strikeforce Heavyweight Tournament, thanks to a doctor’s stoppage that occurred at the end of the 2nd round.
Sunday’s bout marks the second consecutive loss for Fedor, the previous one by means of an armbar submission against Fabricio Werdum. He has, up to that time, won over 25 straight fights, notably against the likes of Antonio Noguiera, Brett Rogers, and Mirko Cro Cop.
And now the Russian Sambo fighter, at 34 years of age, is being written off by the public – a claim that bears very little sense to those who have followed the man’s illustrious career. Fedor has a record of 31 wins and only 3 losses that has spanned for over a decade. Perhaps a legendary streak has come to an end, but never has it been an indication of a winding career as well, nor should it be.
But Fedor himself might believe he should be hanging his gloves soon. “Maybe it's the last time. Maybe it's high time," Fedor remarked after the fight. "Thank God for everything. I spent a great, beautiful, long, sport life. Maybe it's God's will."
The man is obviously asking questions about his career at the moment, having his credibility on a rough patch after enjoying a god-like status in the MMA community for so long. But a loss, or two for that matter, is not the end. Tarnish to a legacy perhaps, but never the end.
Manny Pacquiao, for one, has had a tough year over seven years ago, juggling a loss and a decision draw against Erik Morales and Juan Manuel Marquez, both of which he ultimately avenged soon after.
Michael Jordan, who retired twice, has also had a few losing seasons, but he managed to pull off another three-peat a year later. We understand that it’s a difficult choice, choosing redemption over a cult status, risking your legacy for the sake of triumph.
MMA is a relatively young sport, which makes it hard for Fedor to ever base his legendary career on anyone else. Pound for pound counterparts Anderson Silva and Georges St-Pierre are still at the peak of their careers, and have yet to come down from their respective ranks.
The difference in this sport however is the fact that losses are just as common, significant even, as victories. Randy Couture has lost over 30% of his fights. Chuck Liddell as well. Still, they’re going out of the sport as bona fide hall of famers.
Retiring or not, Fedor will soon make a final decision, and he will have his reasons. So for fight fans’ sake Fedor, say it isn’t so.