Strikeforce and CBS had the honor this weekend of introducing Fedor Emelianenko to the millions that tuned in to watch the free card. However, the success of Emelianenko’s presence was astronomically better than many had expected.
Prior to Saturday night, questions loomed as to whether or not Emelianenko was marketable to the American public. Whether or not Emelianenko would meet the approval of the casual fans, or those watching the sport for the first time.
Those questions no longer remain.
Whenever Emelianenko’s face would grace the big screens surrounding the Sears Centre, the spectators would erupt in cheers. Rogers’ image brought on a different display of emotions. The fans clearly had picked sides with the Russian phenomenon.
The love for Fedor Emelianenko continued throughout the night, all the way to the main event.
Brett Rogers walked out to the resounding sound of disapproval, as the fans booed the undefeated heavyweight all the way to the cage.
Emelianenko’s welcome was the warmest of the evening, as the crowd reached its loudest state as the No. 1 heavyweight made his way to the battlefield.
The trend continued as the fight began, as on-lookers continued to scream for Fedor to win the fight. Perhaps the only moment when the crowd was not 100% behind Emelianenko was when a “U.S.A” chant broke out through a few sections of the stands.
However, those cheers were quickly muffled when a solid right hand dropped Rogers, leading to a technical knockout victory by Emelianenko.
The knockout immediately sent an undeniable electricity throughout the arena. Fans screamed in approval as Emelianenko calmly raised his hand in victory.
Emelianenko’s win was just another win for so many fans who had seen him fight before. But for the many who were watching him or the sport for the first time, it was so much more.
Fedor was cheered and appreciated by both the hardcore and casual fans alike. The entire crowd was behind the Russian and exploded in excitement when the calm heavyweight knocked out the American, answering the question of Emelianenko’s marketability.
Emelianenko may not be the same type of fighter or person as Brock Lesnar, but he is certainly closer to the UFC heavyweight champion in terms of marketability than most thought he would be by the end of the weekend.
With the exposure given by Showtime and CBS, Emelianenko has become one of the most famous and notable mixed martial artists in America.
His mystical manner and devastating style have brought mixed martial arts to the mainstream once again, and the next time around, you can be sure Fedor Emelianenko will again be the main attraction to the millions watching.