It was on the tip of everyone's tongue "Upset", but you would hear no one even whisper the word "Upset".
On June 24, 2001, against popular opinion, I made a rare, lonely pick for Fedor to lose to Werdum in one of the biggest upsets in the history of the sport:
I made my pick clear and displayed the reasons why.
And as I seen my prophecy slowly unfold I could only feel bad for the fallen Emperor. Because deep inside I have always been an avid supporter of Fedor. Ever since his inseption into Pride Fighting Championships I followed as a witness to his path of destruction through the heavyweight division.
It seems to be a slow consistent trend as not only Fedor but all of my MMA heroes seem to be rise and fall within my lifetime. From Gracie to Sakuraba, Wanderlei to Chuck Liddell. All of them seeming to be nothing more than puppets in a play acting out the metaphorical script for the futility of life before my eyes.
And the moment Fedor hesitantly tapped within the triangle choke all of the upsets in MMA history flashed through my mind up to the time when Antonio Rodrigo Nogueria was defeated by Fedor Emelianenko for the Pride Fighting Championship's World Heavyweight Championship.
And now we have come full circle.
The legendary battles between the two greatest competitors of their time Rodrigo Minotauro Nogueria and Fedor Emelianenko have been revenged by a Brazillian, in the same position that Fedor became famous to MMA enthusiasts - within the Brazillian Jiu Jitsu guard.
It was there where (years ago) Fedor punished Nogueria for two whole fights, changing Nogueria into the deformed shell of the fighter he was, making a mockery of the Brazillian Jiu Jitsu Guard, driving through it with punches as though it were not even a method of defense but a coffin or a restraint to facilitate punishment.
The psychological aspect of MMA is indeed tremendously important. It's even more important than the physical tools that a fighter may possess and carry with them into a fight.
A man's intelligence is what separates him from the other mammals inhabiting the planet.
But Saturday night, Fedor forgot to bring his intelligence with him into the octagon.
He allowed the UFC's almost mafia-like business tactic of taking millions of dollars away from Fedor by threatening his clothing line disturb his focus in the cage.
He let other major distractions such as religion, love and politics, to occupy space in his brain. He depended on his physical gifts and thought he'd put his brain on cruise control to another win.
But while he was looking to cruise through the fight, Fabricio Werdum was looking to put on the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu clinic of a lifetime. He was ready to get the fight into the place where it gave him the most advantage. He knew he had to do it early to prevent the formation of sweat from making the limbs slippery. He studied Fedor's agressiveness and perhaps even baited him to the ground. He knew exactly what he needed to do to win against the almost mythic apponent and executed it to perfection.
Now with the dust settling over the arena you could hear a rumble in the distance, the sound of millions of jaws hitting the floor in unison. The Emperor has been defeated.
But in the post fight interview Fedor left us with a tiny piece of where his mind is at. A place of serenity and courage. A message of strength and inner peace. A simple phrase that should be universally respected and understood, "The one who doesn't fall, doesn't stand up."
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