Fedor "The Last Emperor" Emelianenko is one of the greatest fighters of the mixed martial arts era and for that he deserves an MMA pass into the UFC. Even if it's for one night only, he deserves that much.
In some quarters, there's a general consensus that Fedor (32-4-1NC) has by far seen better days; he's failed to evolve with the sport; he can't compete with the upper-echelon heavyweights, especially those residing in the UFC and so on and so forth.
At 35 years old, he's still young in a sport that has seen some of his contemporaries continue to contend at the highest level—Anderson "The Spider" Silva (36), Dan "H-Bomb" Henderson (41) and Randy "The Natural" Couture (even though retired, he won the UFC heavyweight title at 43) to name a few.
To be forthright, Fedor in essence has fallen short with regards to his advancement with the soon-to-be prototype MMA fighter.
It can only be surmised that his fall from grace has been largely down to complacency on his part and the cliché, "You can't teach an old dog new tricks."
Also, notwithstanding his sitting atop the heavyweight stratosphere for 10 years and with hardly a blemish in sight, that age-old combat adage of "You're only as good as your last fight" nevertheless applies to Fedor.
To suggest, however, that his recent losses to Fabricio Werdum, Antonio Silva and "Hendo" now constitute his ineligibility into the UFC's Octagon or that his credibility as a fighter be brought into question is asinine at best.
There have been and still are lesser fighters who continue to showcase their dwindling skills and/or their one-dimensionality in the UFC.
Case in point, Dan "The Outlaw" Hardy. He has four losses on the trot and if not for his British pay-per-view appeal, he would've most definitely been bounced from the organization.
Truth be told, Fedor's skill set mightn't be the necessary requisite for throwing down with the elite of the UFC's heavyweight assemblage, but one thing to take on board is that his inclusion in the Zuffa-based firm will generate a generous amount of pay-per-view sales, not to mention the live gate and attendance figures.
And let's not forget his fanbase—20,000-plus turned out for his most recent outing against Jeff "The Snowman" Monson (Russia mightn't be America, but it's still a healthy turnout).
And that, per se, should be enough to entice Dana White and Co. to acquire his services—a maximum of three fights at best should suffice.
Or better yet, sign him to a pay-as-you-win contract—the once baddest dude on the planet is not in the driving seat anymore, and I'm sure he'll be willing to make concessions.
With that said, the company should have carte blanche to do away with his services if he flounders beyond expectation.
Their attempts at signing him have in the past proven unsuccessful, due in no small part to his association with M1-Global and his manager Vadim Finkelstein.
Be that as it may, Fedor has to shoulder some of the blame as well, because the last time I looked, he was over 21 years of age and thus is and was in position to make his own play.
That, however, is history—it's the here and now that counts.
Whether Fedor wins or loses in the Octagon, I believe the UFC will be in a win-win situation. If that's not enough to persuade the Fedor pessimists, how about the reasons for his naysayers and fans alike tuning in or watching live?
It's that simple—to watch him rise once again or witness another disastrous fall.
To close this argument in favour of Fedor's worthiness of an MMA pass into the UFC, inconsequential though it might sound, the measure of his greatness can be summed up by the reaction of those who can empathize with what it entails to contest in the realm of mixed martial arts.
The reactions of "Vai Cavalo," "Bigfoot" and Hendo following their upending of The Last Emperor were synonymous with the idiom, "A picture is worth a thousand words."
I rest my case.