Fedor Emelianenko retired last night, a move that surprised no one yet still undoubtedly disappointed many. “I think it’s time,” he announced in his post-fight interview in front of a homeland crowd. “I still have the Sambo World Championships. My family is the reason I will not be fighting again.”
Was Fedor the greatest MMA fighter of all time, as the hype that followed him for most of his career maintained? Probably not. He was, however, the greatest heavyweight of his day and perhaps of all time; but either way, arguing over qualifiers and labels of that nature tend to miss the point of why things capture our imaginations in the first place.
Fedor was Fedor. And Fedor was a wonder.
Here’s MMA Fighting’s Shaun Al-Shatti on The Last Emperor’s final performance last night against Pedro Rizzo (video above):
If Fedor Emelianenko was ever going to retire, it was going to be just like that. Another leaping, looping explosion. Four hooks, one gorgeously fluid motion, down he goes. One, two, three, four, five more fists cracking a skull against the canvas, and it’s done. Five seconds of violent poetry. Just the way we remembered it.
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As a bonus, check out this amazing highlight reel of Fedor and some of his fellow countrymen, released earlier this month. You’ll be swearing allegiance to Mother Russia by the end.