Fedor Emelianenko retire? He might fight again ... but he shouldn't

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Was it a fast stoppage? Did Herb Dean give Fedor Emelianenko enough time to recover from a Dan Henderson punch that nearly flattened him onto the mat?

That point will be argued for day, weeks, months and years even. 

But the fact of that matter is, "The Last Emperor" -- who just last year hadn't suffered a defeat in over a decade and only one in his entire career -- has now lost three fights in a row.

The commentators for tonight's Strikeforce card couldn't sell the retirement angle enough when speaking about the Russian. It was almost as if they were told to parrot the same point over and over in case of an Emelianenko loss.

That sort of talk makes me think that the newly acquired promotion will not re-sign the storied fighter ... and for good reason. He shouldn't step inside a cage or ring again.

But he will.

We are years removed from Emelianenko at his best. He last defeated Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira in 2004 and Mirko Filipovic in 2005. It's been two and three years since his wins over Tim Sylvia and Andrei Arlovski.

Each of those wins was excellent in context. Don't let anyone convince you that "The Last Emperor" beating those fighters when he did and how he did wasn't impressive or important. It absolutely was.

But since then, the Russian has one win over Brett Rogers -- a fighter who wasn't terribly impressive before his brush with greatness and has been downright awful since.

And then three straight losses. First, a seemingly fluke submission to the Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ) black belt Fabricio Werdum. But hell, even Georges St. Pierre and Anderson Silva have lost to fighters that are considerably under their pay grade.

But then there was an almost dominating victory from Antonio Silva. "Bigfoot" punished and brutalized Emelianenko like no one ever had before. And despite "The Last Emperor's" insistence that he could have continued into the third round, his eye was nearly completely swollen shut and the doctors called the fight.

After seeing a fighter dominate, destroy, decimate -- any adjective you can think of -- for longer than most of the UFC champions have been competing, it was a sobering sight.

The Russian even hinted at retiring in his post-fight interview. The thought wasn't met with much backlash.

And now tonight. Whether or not the stoppage was early or not is besides the point. Emelianenko lost again. But more than that, he was finished again.

He should retired.

But he won't.

He will earn the snakes at M-1 Global at least one more paycheck -- likely in Japan or Russia -- before they let the the greatest mixed martial artist to ever compete so far the chance to rest. You'll likely see the bout on HDNet or on an illegal stream since it won't be for either Strikeforce or the UFC.

"The Last Emperor" is without a contract again. The last time this happened, he was the hottest free agent on the market.

Today, he's mocked by some and immortalized by others.

Tonight marks the end of an era. 

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