Fallen Empire : How Fedor's Loss Has Changed the MMA Landscape
Last night the impossible happened. The Man , the Myth, the Legend has finally been defeated.
Fedor "The Last Emperor" Emelianenko is unbeaten no more. Sure, prior to last night he did have one loss on his record, but in reality, it was a stoppage due to cuts.
Most of us went into last night's Strikeforce event with the idea that Fabricio Werdum would be merely a stepping stone to Fedor's fight with the pormotion's current heavyweight title holder Alistair Overeem.
I mean all the signs were there:
1. Werdum, a former UFC competitor, was solid but not a standout. He went two for four in the UFC and lost to some major names like Big Nog, Junior Dos Santos, and Andrei Arlovski.
2. Fedor was coming off of a successful Strikeforce debut against Brett Rogers last November.
3. With the return of Overeem, the stars were finally aligning to set the stage for one of the biggest Heavyweight fights of the year.
The loss was startling. I felt as though I was six years old and my parents finally told me that there was no such thing as Santa Claus. In the aftermath, the question now must be answered: How does the MMA landscape look now that the Emperor has no clothes?
There is no denying that Fedor can still be regarded as one of the top heavyweights in the world, by anyone's standards. I guess the question is where does Fedor's value now stand?
Strikeforce, and particularly M-1 Global, have built up a huge stake in Fedor's success, and now this loss places the relationship between the two promotions at an interesting cross roads. Originally, M-1 held all the cards over anyone who wanted to sign Fedor, by forcing a co-promotion on all events in which he would participate in. Now we'll have to see how that relationship will proceed going forward now that they've lost some of their juice.
If you are on Twitter and are following Dana White, then I am sure you saw his post fight comment, which was a simple smiley face.
We all know how Mr. White feels about the way that attempted negotiations went with Fedor and M-1 Global last year; but I can't help but wonder that if Fedor was on the market tomorrow, would Dana and the UFC again jump at the chance to snatch him up?
A better question to ask would be, how fair would Dana be now that the mighty "Fedor Machine" is no longer as powerful, due to the loss?
Fedor is a masterful fighter, period. To discredit him because of this one loss would be wrong. However, part of me is kind of glad that this loss happened. It finally makes Fedor human; thus making him susceptible to being beaten, which in turn makes his story of a comeback all the more compelling. (See my article on five fights that he could take going forward.)
If Fedor should decide that he wants to continue fighting then he could possibly go on a run which would cement him as a legend for all time. Think about it, we consider Mohammad Ali the greatest boxer of all time because of his ability to bounce back to the top after huge losses.
The wins in Fedor's career have only made him a champion, the comeback from this loss against the right fighters will make him something much, much more.
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