The future of Russian heavyweight great Fedor Emelianenko remains unclear after the legendary “Last Emperor” suffered the second legitimate loss of his career to Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva this past Saturday night.
While Fedor was able to secure the first round on two of the judges scorecards, Silva was able to dominate the last holder of the PRIDE heavyweight championship in the second round. The contest was stopped at the conclusion of the round due to damage Fedor had suffered to his right eye, which was swollen shut.
Fedor’s management team, M-1 Global, issued a press release after the event stating that he would reflect on the loss and his future and make a clear decision shortly. Meanwhile, M-1 President Vadim Finkelstein stated that he was shocked that the fight was stopped, and doesn’t necessarily count Saturday’s defeat as a loss.
“I couldn’t believe my eyes, that the fight was stopped,” Finkelstein said after the fight. “I don’t consider it a loss, in the sense that the first round Fedor clearly won, and in the second round Silva clearly won. We don’t know what would have happened in the third round.
“Silva was a very big guy. He outweighed Fedor by about 60 pounds. But at the same time, we don’t know what would have happened. Clearly the eye came into play and as a result it is a loss. I believe the doctor made the right decision because the fighter’s health is the utmost priority… if that is what the doctor felt was right, then I agree with that.”
The Russian legend had hinted after the fight that his career as a fighter may be over.
“I want to thank for you for your support,” said Fedor after the fight. “Something was wrong from the beginning. I didn’t adjust. Maybe it is time to leave.”
When pressed in the cage afterward by Showtime announcer, Gus Johnson, whether this was indeed the last time he would fight, the revered Fedor said, “Yes, maybe this is last time, maybe it’s high time [to retire]. I had a great, beautiful sporting life. Yes, maybe it’s time. Thank you very much for the support. Thank God for everything.”
Finkelstein said that he hopes Fedor doesn’t retire, and hopes to convince him not to.
“I hope that he doesn’t retire. I am going to see what I can do and talk to him and convince him not to, because I don’t believe he lost the fight – in terms of, he showed a lot of heart, he survived that second round, he could have come back and won that fight,” he said.
“I believe he has enough strength to continue to fight… but ultimately it’s Fedor’s decision.”