It appeared that the legendary career of Fedor “The Last Emperor” Emelianenko was coming to an end after the heavyweight tasted legitimate defeat for the second straight time in his career at Strikeforce: Fedor vs. Silva this past Saturday. Emelianenko was defeated by Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva in the opening round of the Strikeforce World Grand Prix heavyweight tournament.
Following the bout, Emelianenko hinted that his career as an active competitor was over. However, it appears as though Emelianenko has changed his mind.
“I rushed to declare my retirement,” said Emelianenko, reported by DreamFighters.com. “I will fight more.”
Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker stated after the fight that he may use Emelianenko as an alternate for the World Grand Prix heavyweight tournament, or book him against the loser of the Alistair Overeem – Fabricio Werdum fight in April.
“Possibly, I will return to the Heavyweight Grand-Prix,” Emelianenko stated. “I am capable of having a few more fights. I didn’t make any analysis yet on why I lost. I need to recover, I can’t see very well yet.”
Emelianenko stayed competitive with Silva in the first round of their fight this past weekend, winning the round on two of the judges scorecards. However, he found himself completely dominated in the second frame. All three judges awarded the second round to Silva, with one judge scoring the round 10-8 in favor of “Bigfoot.” The contest was stopped at the conclusion of the round due to damage Fedor had suffered to his right eye, which was swollen shut.
“Something was wrong from the beginning,” said Emelianenko after the fight. “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, he stated, “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.”
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. M-1 President Vadim Finkelstein said that he hoped Fedor wouldn’t retire, and planned to convince him not to.
“I hope that he doesn’t retire,” said Finkelstein. “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.”