Strikeforce Grand Prix Fix, No UFC 116: Was Fedor Emelianenko Robbed?

Buckus ToothnailContributor IIIFebruary 13, 2011

Those of us that had tuned into Saturday night's fight between MMA heavyweight legend Fedor Emelianenko and feared heavyweight contender Antonio Silva were in for a shock.

No, not because of Silva's total domination of the fight beginning in Round 2.

For those of us that have been following MMA closely for decades and ignore all of the corporate-sponsored media hype polluting the sport today, the outcome of Saturday night's match was not surprising.

Emelianenko, while still being the best heavyweight the sport has ever seen, has been in steep decline for the past few years.

His dramatic loss to Fabricio Werdum by armbar last June only signaled what many of us had long expected—that Fedor's skills had deteriorated significantly throughout the years, exposed in his match against Andrei Arlovski in January of 2009, and his reign at the top would soon come to an end.

In that fight, Fedor was dominated for most of the first round by Arlovski's speed and superior boxing skills and kicks. He came out victorious only when the overconfident Arlovski went in for an ill-advised flying knee which Fedor took advantage of with a beautiful overhand right, knocking Arlovski out.

In his next fight against the then-undefeated Brett Rogers, Rogers experienced some success in the first round, landing some solid punches against Emelianenko.

Like in the Arlovski fight, Fedor seemed slower and outmatched by his opponent in the beginning of the fight. His superior skills and experience, however, allowed him to seize upon an opening in the second round for a crowd-pleasing TKO.

Going into tonight's fight against the sizable Silva, Emelianenko was giving up around 55 pounds to his opponent, a shocking disparity in any weight class.

Emelianenko has faced much larger opponents before, most notably Korean novelty Hong-Man Choi, but none before with Silva's training, technique, quickness and power.

In the past, Emelianenko had the strength and skills to dispatch an opponent like Silva via a quick submission after perhaps softening him up with a little ground and pound. 

But it was Emelianenko that was being ruthlessly pounded into the ground by Silva for most of the second round after being taken down following a wildly missed overhand right.

He was on the defensive for most of the round, getting rocked mercilessly with heavy hammerfists and having to fight off numerous submission attempts including a kneebar and heel hook in the final minute with his only offense being a laughable foot lock attempt to end the round.

But what came afterward was the shocker.

Emelianenko was deemed unable to continue by the ring doctor due to the swelling in his right eye.


Sure, his eye was not looking good, but he certainly could have continued to fight.  While the eye was swollen up, it was not cut at all, it was not bleeding, and it was not in any immediate danger of permanent damage.

One only needs to look at last July's fight between then-heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar against challenger Shane Carwin at UFC 116 to see how this fight should have been called. 

Lesnar, while the heavy favorite going into the fight, was being ruthlessly dominated by Carwin throughout the first round, taking one of the worst ground and pound beatings seen in the heavyweight division in recent memory.

In fact, he took much worse punishment in the round than Emelianenko did in the second against Silva, with his left eye not only swollen shut but suffering a vicious tear/rip/cut that would make a surgeon gag. 

It was truly a journey into the human anatomy to see his trainer stick the side of a cotton swab completely into the cut and then filling the gap with Vaseline like it was an h'ordeuvre stuffed with cream cheese.

The fight was allowed to continue, however, and Lesnar was able to turn the fight around against the exhausted Carwin in the second round and submit him with an arm triangle choke.

Now would Emelianenko have been able to pull off a similar comeback and defeat the overwhelmingly dominant Silva in the third round?

Possibly not, but possibly yes, with Emelianenko having mounted thrilling, unexpected comebacks in the past. 

But that is not the point, whether he would have come back to win or not. The point is he could have continued to fight and they should have let him.

As to whether he would have come back and defeated Silva with another one of his storied comebacks, now we'll never know. 

And what a disservice it is to one of the greatest careers the MMA world has ever seen if this is to become Emelianenko's last fight.

The "Last Emperor" deserved to be knocked out or submitted convincingly or to have a chance to come back with a victorious move of his own. 

Like with Lesnar's fight, who narrowly snatched victory from the jaws of defeat, it's never over until it's over, and us fans were robbed of seeing possibly the greatest heavyweight comeback ever or the first truly vicious, dominating knockout of Emelianenko in his storied career.

Fedor Emelianenko was robbed last night, and so were us fans.