Fedor Emelianenko ends legendary MMA profession with pointless drubbing at Bellator 290
There have been so many legends of MMA within the cage who traveled to Inglewood, California, from each nook of the nation who knew precisely the sensation Fedor Emelianenko had on Saturday.
The legendary Russian heavyweight, who within the first half of this century helped make MMA what it’s at the moment, had simply been knocked out in 2:30 by Ryan Bader in the principle occasion of Bellator 290 at The Discussion board.
There was a scratch on his nostril. Blood dripped from his lip. His face was reddened. He was winded as he tried to specific his feelings after an unbelievable 23-year profession had come to an finish.
So lots of his former rivals, and his friends from a time when MMA actually needed to battle to outlive one other day, have been delivered to California by Bellator to have a good time his retirement.
It wasn’t alleged to be like this, although anybody who is aware of the battle recreation needed to know in his coronary heart of hearts that, certainly, it might.
It occurred to “The Best,” Muhammad Ali, in Nassau, Bahamas, in 1981, when he was overwhelmed by Trevor Berbick. At Ali’s peak, Berbick wasn’t ok to tie his sneakers, however on the finish, Ali suffered an ignominious beating.
So lots of these within the cage with Emelianenko suffered the identical destiny. Mark Coleman, who was overwhelmed twice by Emelianenko at a time when each have been of their primes, ended by dropping three of his final 4 and was knocked out by Randy Couture within the second spherical of his closing bout.
Couture, one of many few legends of the early days of MMA that Emelianenko didn’t meet, was knocked out by way of entrance kick at age 47 within the second spherical by Lyoto Machida. Chuck Liddell was there, and he misplaced his closing 4, all by knockout, and dropped six of his closing seven.
Quinton “Rampage” Jackson known as it quits at 41 after he was knocked out in 2019 by Emelianenko of all folks. Matt Hughes misplaced his closing two by knockout; Frank Shamrock was knocked out in his closing two and misplaced three of his final 4 earlier than retiring at 38.
It’s a prolonged listing, which solely proves the brutal nature of fight sports activities. MMA heartlessly, cruelly devours its legends and one other went down the identical path on Saturday.
Let’s be trustworthy right here for a second: Emelianenko, at 46, had no enterprise being within the cage on Saturday. Golf and baseball lend themselves to Senior Excursions and Outdated-Timer Video games. Preventing sports activities most actually don’t.
Bader is way from the best fighter, and even biggest heavyweight on the planet, however he’s a strong skilled who has by no means misplaced at heavyweight. After Saturday’s bout, he improved his document at heavyweight to 7-0 by getting his third end within the division.
A kind of got here in 2019 when he knocked out the identical man in the identical constructing in the identical spherical in the identical one-sided method. Emelianenko lasted solely 35 seconds in 2019, and there was no motive for him to go on.
He’s idolized by so many, most particularly by fighters who grew up and acquired fascinated with MMA by watching him look invincible as he reeled off 27 consecutive victories over practically 10 years in opposition to among the best heavyweights in MMA historical past.
His time had lengthy since handed previous to Saturday’s pointless drubbing. There’s an exception to each rule, however an excellent rule of thumb for battle promoters to observe is when the concept pops into one’s head to place a 46-year-old individual right into a cagefight to drop the concept instantly.
We didn’t have to see that occur to anybody, however particularly to not one of many greats of the game. It will have been higher to have him give a curtain name with out preventing, letting the followers say goodbye by watching a wonderfully edited spotlight reel and having his friends within the cage to shake his hand and congratulate him on a job effectively executed.
Because it was, sweaty, bloodied and battered, Emelianenko was all grace and sophistication within the cage when it was executed.
“At one facet, I’m unhappy in fact that I didn’t ship within the battle,” Emelianenko stated within the cage by way of a translator. “On the opposite facet, although, I’m completely satisfied that each one these individuals are right here cheering for me and all these veteran fighters who’ve walked this path with me for the final 20 years are right here to greet me, so I’m very completely satisfied.”
Bader, in fact, made his identify as a heavyweight in 2019 by knocking out Emelianenko after which wished him goodbye by pummeling him in his retirement battle.
Bader didn’t need to speak about what he’d executed, as a result of from an precise preventing perspective, what he did on Saturday was no massive deal taking out a 46-year-old man who had misplaced the zip on his fastball years prior.
He needed to speak about what it meant to twice share the cage with Emelianenko, an emotion lots of these different fighters mirrored upon themselves once they greeted him after the carnage.
“It’s not even the wins; it’s with the ability to compete in opposition to that man,” Bader stated. “That first battle was wonderful; this one was the identical deal. There’s such a build-up, or no matter, preventing Fedor. Standing throughout that cage from him was fairly surreal.”
The Emelianenko Period is over, later than it needs to be nevertheless it’s lastly executed. Time will decide the place he needs to be ranked, how excessive up on the all-time listing he needs to be positioned. However the look of the legends who turned out to pay tribute to this stoic Russian warrior on Saturday ought to inform you all you could learn about his position within the historical past of the game of combined martial arts.
Few have ever executed it higher.