Fedor Emilianenko is the greatest heavyweight mixed martial artist of all time. Say what you want about him fighting cans, that streak and that skill set can't go unnoticed. However, his first (T)KO loss at the hands of 40+ Dan Henderson, who is possibly the first fighter Fedor has fought that he had a significant weight advantage on, should, and hopefully will, spell the end of his decade long career. And I'm not saying this because I think he sucks; I'm saying this because I think he's too good to go out like this.
"You either die a hero, or you live long enough to see yourself become the villain" - Batman
Obviously, this quote is slightly altered when it comes to MMA, but the concept still rings true, especially in this situation. When you look through history at the number of great athletes who held on too long, and there are a lot of them, none of them have had the disastrous drop-off that Fedor has. Has Brett Favre tarnished his legacy by coming back so many times? Sure, but the man was still putting up career highs in Minnesota. And while other great athletes (Muhammad Ali, Jerry Rice, Willie Mays, etc.) who hung around when they shouldn't have are still considered at the top of their sports all-time, they're careers suffered a hill-like decline, not one similar to falling off a cliff like Fedor.
It started April 6th, 2001. Fedor defeated a man named Mikhail Apostolov by RNC in the first round. Sherdog lists his record at 0-1 with Fedor being his only career opponent. Not a very important fight, had it not been for it being the first in Fedor's 28 fight unbeaten streak. Over the course of said streak, Fedor defeated Babalu Sobral, Semmy Schilt, Big Nog x2, Mark Coleman x2, Kevin Randleman, Mirko Cro Cop, Matt Lindland, and Andrei Arlovski. Those names don't encompass half the streak. As great and dominant as this streak was, this fanpost is not about his past. It's about his present and his future.
It happened June 26th of last year. The first loss of Fedor's three consecutive losses. The man who is 31-4-1 went into his fight against Fabricio Werdum with 75% less losses than he does now on his still incredibly impressive record. The fight with Werdum was short and sweet. The two men exchanged early with Fedor stunning and dropping Werdum. Whether or not Werdum was ACTUALLY baiting him or not, we'll never know, but either way, Fedor jumped on Fabricio and less than a minute later tapped out to the Armbar portion of a Triangle/Armbar hybrid.
"So what? He got caught. Some of the greatest fighters ever have been caught. GSP has been caught. Surely, its not the end of the world that Fedor got caught." Except, it kinda was. At least the beginning of the end. His next fight was against Antonio "Bigfoot" Silva. That nickname would play a major role in this fight, as Silva used his size to utterly dominate Fedor, in the second round especially, to earn himself a doctor's stoppage.
"Okay, so its just a slump. He's still reeling from the Werdum loss a little bit, no big deal. He's still never been stopped, I mean, he was ready to come out for the third before the doctor stopped it against Bigfoot." Wait, back it up to that "never been stopped" part. Because that all changed Saturday night. After Fedor dropped Hendo, "Dangerous" Dan was able to use his superior wrestling to get off his back, get to his knees, and blow up Fedor's chin. I don't care what anybody says - Fedor was fucking out. Not when the fight was stopped, but when the punch landed Fedor went unconscious.
Fedor, it's over. It's not up to God, it's not up to your corrupt management, it's up to you. Take control of your career for once and hang it up. I don't give Fedor a ton of props on this site, I never have, but I will take this opportunity to say that he was, and to an extent still is, a phenomenal mixed martial artist. But his time has passed. Why go out there, and continue to fight, when the only people with names and resumes worthy of being in the cage with you will beat you at this stage of your career. What would your fans say if you went out and fought someone like Gian Villante next? What would a win against him even mean for your career at this point? Even worse, what would a loss mean? Fedor Emelianenko is in a no-win situation. The great fighter's will beat him. The not-so-great fighters would probably lose to him, but he gains nothing from a win like that and loses a ton with a loss. The best thing for Fedor right now would be to quit while he's still ahead. Losses to Werdum, Bigfoot, and Hendo don't hold a candle to all of his wins. But the more he hangs on, and the more (inevitable) losses he racks up, that flame gets bigger. You're your own fire extinguisher Fedor, make the right move. For your sake, and the sake of the history of MMA.