Fabricio Werdum vs. Fedor Emelianenko: Dave Mandel/Sherdog.com

Added to Fedor Emelianenko’s considerable accomplishments during a ten-year MMA career: breaking the Internet.

Emelianenko, 33 and with a 32-1 (1 NC) record heading into Saturday’s fight with Fabricio Werdum, has spent the last three years as one of the sport’s best fighters and its single most divisive personality. The mystique of his undefeated record made him the UFC’s priority acquisition -- yet he and his management team rejected their advances, an arrogance that pleased fans irritated at the UFC’s monopoly and annoyed others who wanted to see him butt heads with the 280-pound wrestlers.

For fans, his disinterest was an example of a fighter who refused to become a commodity; for Dana White, he was a fading champion who didn’t deserve the respect shoveled on him. It is probably not unreasonable to say significant ad space was sold on sites that got bumper-to-bumper traffic based on the debate. Strikeforce and Emelianenko got plenty of press. The only person it didn’t benefit was White, who was chastised in media for not being able to close a deal.

White’s consolation was that Emelianenko losing was only a matter of time. Everyone does, sometimes to an athlete most would overlook. (St. Pierre and Silva, the UFC’s two best fighters, lost to Ryo Chonan and Matt Serra, respectively, Washington Generals-level underdogs.) But what made Fedor special was his inexplicable ability to defy the odds for so long. In a sport where just one mistake can cost you a loss -- or a broken arm, or worse -- he had somehow navigated through a decade without suffering a freak occurrence, injury, or brain fart.

Until this weekend. Emelianenko rushed Werdum, who fell to his back more out of a loss of balance than punishment, and made a horrible error: he willingly tumbled into Werdum’s guard, a position representing his biggest danger of the fight. Without the sweat of a long fight to help him, a dry Emelianenko was forced to tap to a triangle choke. Message boards, busy for so long with arguments over his abilities, froze from the congestion.

In a sport where you’re only as good as your last fight, getting tied and tapped by a triangle in just over a minute leaves Emelianenko open to some revisionist history. But reputations are built on the sum total of efforts: to date, no heavyweight has dominated his division as thoroughly, consistently, and for as long as Emelianenko has. He may not be the best heavyweight competing today, but he is easily the most accomplished.

There will probably be a rematch with Werdum, and a chance to reestablish the claim that Emelianenko has beaten every man he’s ever faced. There may also be a softening on demands from M-1, his squad of contract negotiators, who can no longer twist promoters with the promise of delivering a superhuman. The loss may even provide the best result possible for his fans: a career-ending trip in the UFC. And with it, a chance to break the Internet one more time.

File Photo/Sherdog.com


Will Fedor regain his status?

Werdum, or Antonio Silva.

Emelianenko, or Overeem.

Recognition that, at 38, he has only a sliver of time left as a competitive athlete and should take the fights he wants sooner rather than later.

More ‘80s-Tyson-level squash matches.

Continuing to be underrated; Lyle Beerbohm.

Werdum had a defibrillator effect on the industry by tapping Fedor Saturday, becoming the first man ever to decisively stop the Russian. With that will come loads of sponsorship and endorsement opportunities -- but his window closes fast if Emelianenko gets his rematch in short order.

The debatable question is whether Werdum should be ranked number one for beating the world’s No. 1 heavyweight. Or should that be Junior dos Santos, who beat Werdum nearly two years ago? Or the winner of next weekend’s Carwin/Lesnar bout? Dana White, fans, and media will get plenty of mileage in figuring it out.

While he was respected for being an excellent, well-rounded fighter, much of Emelianenko’s recognition came from his record -- a feat nearly impossible in a sport as unpredictable and varied as MMA. Without that armor, the drawing power of a monosyllabic foreigner with central obesity takes a hit.

Emelianenko could restore much of his appeal with a decisive, bloody bit of revenge against Werdum. But the days of considering Emelianenko the Rocky Marciano of this sport are over.

Unlike the UFC, which can count on its brand to deliver a bottom-floor level of business, Strikeforce is largely dependent on the appeal of its matches. Owning Emelianenko was their single biggest resource for media and legitimacy. Now that he’s lost, depreciation is going to follow.

In the short term, they’ve lost potential pay-per-view revenue in a fight with Alistair Overeem: worse, Fedor’s conqueror in Werdum isn’t particularly charismatic or a crowd draw. Long-term, other lost attractions like Gina Carano (doing movies), Herschel Walker (probably good for one or two more fights), Frank Shamrock (retired), and Cung Le (aging) aren’t going to be there to deliver box office.

Emelianenko’s comeback story will get a lot of play. If he can beat Werdum and resurrect interest in a fight with Overeem, it’ll be a happier scene than the one on Saturday.

Winslow, the sport’s only female referee at the televised level, drew sharp words for her officiating of the “Cyborg” Santos/Jan Finney fight. Santos scored four knockdowns in the bout, most of which she followed up with a barrage of punches from the top. Winslow was complacent until a knee to the body dropped Finney in the second.

Finney defended well, covering her face and deflecting most of the major blows on the ground. But a fighter getting repeatedly knocked down is a fairly obvious indication of scrambled brain function: even a sport as cruel as boxing often prohibits a fighter from continuing after three knockdowns in a round. While Finney may have seemed game, what amounted to a 9-7 round (Santos was deducted a point for a foul) should’ve been cause for Winslow to step in. If not, her corner should have. Taking a beating is admirable, but it’s one seriously misguided compliment.


Josh Thomson, who squeaked out a win against a dangerous and underrated Pat Healy, suffered two broken ribs in the bout according to MMAJunkie.com. Prior to a choke by Thomson in the third, it looked like Healy bettors were going to have a profitable night…Strikeforce chair Scott Coker told press after the bout that Erin Toughill would be on tap for “Cyborg” Santos later in the year. Toughill signed with the promotion earlier this year but has yet to make her debut. At this point, recruiting solid female Judoka or wrestlers to test Santos’ jiu-jitsu might be the only way to make her division competitive…Coker also stated a Werdum/Emelianenko rematch was a possibility for pay-per-view, which would be a big mistake: that’s a CBS attraction, and if they want to deliver eyeballs for the network, that’s where it should be scheduled…Frank Shamrock, one of the biggest talents in an era where no one was watching, announced his retirement Saturday. While his attitude put some people off, he was one of the first athletes to understand the psychology of fighting (and fight promoting). His omission from the UFC’s hall of fame remains that promotion’s most immature decision.
view original article >>

Report here if this news is invalid.

Related News

Lawler vs. Woodley: Career Stats, Odds, Highlights for Both Before UFC 201

  • 29 days ago
  • 9 views

When "Ruthless" Robbie Lawler competes, there's a good chance he's winning Fight of the Night. The reigning welterweight champion has taken Fight of the Night honors in four of his last six bouts, wi read news >>

VIDEO: Urijah Faber Talks PEDs, Brock Lesnar, and Chad Mendes

  • 26 days ago
  • 66 views

Urijah Faber reflects on his career and also shares his thoughts on Brock Lesnar and Chad Mendes’ recent involvement with PEDs. read news >>

Brock Lesnar’s MMA Career is Done

  • 25 days ago
  • 322 views

Unless Brock Lesnar is somehow completely exonerated for testing positive to a banned substance, he is done with MMA. read news >>

Bellator 160 Adds Female Flyweight Bout to Main Card

  • 24 days ago
  • 7 views

A flyweight matchup pitting Lena Ovchynnikova against Jaimelene Nievera has been added to the main card of Bellator 160: Henderson vs. Pitbull. read news >>

Brian Ortega vs. Hacran Dias Added to UFC Fight Night 96 in Portland

  • 22 days ago
  • 9 views

A premier featherweight showdown between rising contenders Brian Ortega and Hacran Dias has been inked for UFC Fight Night 96 in Portland. read news >>

Amanda Nunes Plans to Wait for Ronda Rousey’s UFC Return

  • 21 days ago
  • 53 views

Fresh off the biggest win over her career over Miesha Tate at UFC 200 to capture the women's bantamweight title, Amanda Nunes is hoping for an even bigger fight in her first title defense. read news >>

UFC 202 Video: Conor McGregor – The Takedown

  • 15 days ago
  • 112 views

In this episode of The Takedown, Conor McGregor sits down to discuss his confident mindset, career success, gift of gab, and bright future in the UFC. read news >>

Conor McGregor Still Hasn't Talked with New UFC Owners, Praises Fertitta, White

  • 10 days ago
  • 29 views

A big part of the early days of Conor McGregor's UFC career was how he endeared himself with the UFC's ownership group. These new guys, though? He doesn't know them quite yet. Speaking with Ariel Hel read news >>

Diaz vs. McGregor 2: Career Stats, Highlights for Both Before UFC 202

  • 8 days ago
  • 12 views

UFC 202 will be anchored by one of the most anticipated rematches in the organization's history when Conor McGregor attempts to earn some redemption against Nate Diaz in the main event. The narrative read news >>

Nate Diaz's MMA Career Comes Full Circle with Conor McGregor Rivalry

  • 5 days ago
  • 26 views

Since Nate Diaz’s UFC debut in 2007, when he won The Ultimate Fighter 5, he hasn’t been shy about expressing his opinions or sticking up for perceived injustices. Even after defeating Conor McGregor read news >>