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Fedor’s Next Fight Could be back in the Grand Prix

Fedor Emelianenko could be back in the Grand Prix tournamentIt didn’t take long for the retirement talk after Fedor Emelianenko lost to Antonio Silva and was eliminated from Strikeforce’s World Grand Prix. CEO Scott Coker isn’t ready to give up on Fedor just yet. As a matter of a fact, Coker is ready to stick him back in the Strikeforce tournament.

You read that right. As Strikeforce haters rejoiced in what some dramatically called the end of Strikeforce’s World Grand Prix tournament, Scott Coker was busy looking for loopholes. You see, in Strikeforce wins and losses really don’t mean a whole lot. Just ask Brett Rodgers who got a heavyweight title shot after being knocked out by Fedor. No in Strikeforce even after being brutally beaten for a round and losing his first round match, Fedor is still very much alive in the World Grand Prix tournament.

Fedor Emelianenko lost his second fight in a row in Strikeforce, losing via TKO in Round 2 to Antonio Silva due to a doctor’s stoppage. Fedor was dominated for about 4:50 of that round and was battered to the point that his right eye was closed shut. The doctor called off the fight after the second round thus giving Fedor a loss and theoretically eliminating him from Strikeforce’s heavyweight tournament.

Fedor even went ahead and announced his retirement following the fight. Depending upon which translation you believe, Fedor allegedly said after his fight that he was going to retire. His interpreter said differently live on the broadcast, although further translation seems to indicate he actually did announce his retirement.  Scott Coker apparently never got the correct translation as well because not long after the announcement was made, Coker started talking about getting Fedor back into the same tournament he was just eliminated from.

“There’s absolutely a possibility he could be a replacement,” MMAJunkie.com reports. “That’s the beauty of the tournament. You don’t know what could happen in the next leg of the tournament. As this tournament unwinds over the year, there could be an injury, and you could see Fedor back in the tournament.”

I can’t say I am surprised, yet I am surprised that Coker floated this idea out there not even a few hours after the event was over. The idea of putting someone like Fedor back into the tournament as an alternate or not would make the entire thing like a joke to some MMA observers. Any integrity that the winner of this tournament should get would be questioned by throwing Fedor back into the tournament after losing his first round fight. Even more preposterous is that the tournament actually does have alternates who had to win their fights to be alternates. Then again, it is theoretically just as ridiculous as rewarding Chael Sonnen with an immediate UFC title rematch after losing to Anderson Silva in the fifth round.

I know I sound a little harsh so let’s play devil’s advocate. Fedor wasn’t tapped, wasn’t knocked out, and didn’t lose a decision. Fedor lost because of a bad cut to his eye. Fedor finished the second round, popped up, and was ready to come out for the third round. Fedor has bounced back from these kinds of rounds in the past. Silva looked gassed by the end of the round and there is a real good possibility that Fedor would have finished him if they went to the final round. The circumstances are much different than his loss to Fabricio and rather than put an alternate in the tournament who isn’t a top heavyweight, bring back the guy who lost but never really lost.

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As crazy as it sounds it isn’t a bad idea. I just think the bad idea here was dropping it immediately after the fight. Instead of celebrating the victory of Antonio Silva, Coker lessened the win by openly suggesting that Fedor could return to the tournament. I think if Coker waited until an opportunity presented itself in say six-eight months and then said it, enough time would pass where you would have more people wanting to see Fedor back in the tournament as opposed to critics who are already diminishing the tournament just based on the idea that Fedor could return.

From the business side I can’t see any other benefit of having Fedor under contract at this point if he isn’t going back into the tournament. Rematches with Fabricio Werdum and Antonio Silva are unavailable at present. There are no other viable heavyweights worth matching up with Fedor who aren’t in the tournament right now. With Fedor comes a big price tag and co-promotional rights to M-1. Is it even worth it to Scott Coker and Strikeforce to pay these ridiculous demands if he isn’t matched with a name heavyweight? Even with a name heavyweight matchup, is Fedor a draw going forward?

I guess we will find out soon enough.

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Eric G.

Eric is the owner and editor-in-chief of the Camel Clutch Blog. Eric has worked in the pro wrestling industry since 1995 as a ring announcer in ECW and a commentator/host on television, PPV, and home video. Eric also hosted Pro Wrestling Radio on terrestrial radio from 1998-2009. Check out some of Eric's work on his IMDB bio and Wikipedia. Eric has an MBA from Temple University's Fox School of Business.

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