M1-Global has kept the MMA world at bay in anticipation of the announcement regarding Fedor Emelianenko’s next fight. Rumors ranged from Bobby Lashley to Junior Dos Santos yet at the end of the day, M1 disappointed fight fans once again.
Emelianenko’s post-Strikeforce career has become both comical and sad. Once regarded as the greatest pound for pound fighter in MMA, the former Pride FC champion has extended his career by taking easy fights and ducking any real competition. Emelianenko’s next opponent won’t be easy, but likely won’t be all that too difficult either.
“Breaking!!! #Vadimjustannounced Fedor’s opponent for June 21 is Pedro ‘The Rock’ Rizzo!!”
Breaking? The only thing breaking is the hearts of Fedor fans who have struggled to defend their favorite fighter over the last couple of years. Excuse me if I temper my excitement.
While Pedro Rizzo is a former top fighter in the UFC, that was over ten years ago. Rizzo hasn’t even fought since July 2010 and that was against an aging Ken Shamrock. Rizzo did have a fight scheduled with Tim Sylvia last year, but it broke down twice due to injuries. The irony here is that Rizzo reportedly approached M-1 four years ago to fight Fedor and was rejected. Of course he was, why would they want to fight him at a time where he may actually win?
With all due respect to Rizzo, the fight is a big letdown. Both Bobby Lashley and Rolles Gracie have publicly stated that they were in negotiations to fight Fedor. Obviously those negotiations broke down. There was even a slight buzz recently that Fedor would get the UFC 146 slot against Junior Dos Santos if Alistair Overeem can’t get licensed, although to be fair I never bought it. Fighting Lashley or a Gracie would have been interesting, fighting Rizzo is of interest to nobody.
I was a huge Fedor fan during his Pride FC days and like many, I was fooled into thinking he would someday go to the UFC to fight the best competition. He has had several opportunities to do so since Pride FC closed and yet he has never stepped foot inside the UFC cage. It wasn’t for a lack of trying as he reportedly left close to $30 million on the table from the UFC to sign with Strikeforce for less money.
I am past blaming M-1 Global for ruining Fedor’s career. I am at the point now where I put the blame squarely on Fedor. I can’t ever recall seeing a professional athlete at Fedor’s level run from facing the best competition…in any sport. The only time he came remotely close to facing the best in recent years was in Strikeforce and he went 1-3. Additionally, people forget that he came very close to losing that first Strikeforce fight against Brett Rogers.
The funny thing is that recently rumors have started about whether M-1 would sign Rampage Jackson or Alistair Overeem to fight Fedor if either were cut. Some have said that the UFC won’t cut either out of fear that M-1 would make the fight. I don’t believe there is any way in the world that M-1 even sniffed those guys for Fedor at this rate. Fedor would rather take the easy fight.
The more Fedor fights these kinds of fights, the more he is tarnishing what was once a great career.