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Friday, Jun 22, 2012

Fedor Emelianenko Retires, Leaving Behind Legendary Career

Fedor Emelianenko

By Michael Hatamoto

During the main event of M-1 Global: Fedor vs. Rizzo in St. Petersburg, Russia, former PRIDE superstar Fedor Emelianenko knocked out MMA veteran Pedro Rizzo.

After completely dismantling Rizzo in short work within 90 seconds, he was greeted inside the cage by his wife and daughter, training camp, and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Putin reportedly had this to say:  “I want to congratulate Fedor and thank him from all of us, martial arts fans.  It is because of him this sport became so popular in our country.”

Here’s what Fedor had to say to the RIA Novosti agency after the fight:

“I think it is time I quit.  My daughters are growing without me; that’s why it’s time to leave.”

It was rumored Fedor would retire after the Rizzo bout, even though the famed Russian fighter said the matter was “in God’s hands.”  Now that his fighting career is completed, he can remain active in combat sambo, while still working to promote the M-1 brand.

Before losing three straight to Fabricio Werdum, Antonio Silva and Dan Henderson, Fedor dominated the PRIDE heavyweight division in the early 2000s.  In addition to being considered one of the best MMA fighters ever, Fedor has beaten five UFC heavyweight champions during his 12-year pro MMA career.

I don’t expect him to return back to the ring in the future, especially if there aren’t any “fantastic offers” to entice him.  Although he ended his career fighting a washed up veteran on a fight card that wasn’t available to US viewers – unless you watched an Internet stream on Thursday morning – you’ll have to follow-up on YouTube.

I’ve had the pleasure of meeting Fedor and interviewing him on a few different occasions, and it’s amazing the type of aura he has.  Polite and cordial while answering questions through a translator, he was more than willing to take pictures and sign autographs for fans walking by.

Most amusingly, he laughed when a small child hunting for autographs walked by and asked, “Is anyone a fighter here?”  His translator spoke in Russian to Fedor and Kirill Sidelnikov, which garnered a laugh and grin from Fedor.  They greeted the confused boy and gladly signed autographs for him.

He seems so calm and disinterested while sitting in the hotel lobby, but he turns into a cerebral killer before he fights.  After I saw him again post-fight when he knocked out Andrei Arlovski, he was relaxed and satisfied with his victory.

It’s a shame the MMA community didn’t get to see Fedor in the UFC, but he can still retire knowing he didn’t have anything to prove.

posted by FCF Staff @ 10:19 am
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