February 15, 2011
All fighters get old. The game catches up with them and moves along. Combine those absolutes with the fact that we live in a what-have-you-done-for-me-lately era and you get what Fedor Emelianenko has had to hear the last few days after his loss to Antonio Silva.
A guy goes without a loss for 10 years and now he was never really that good? Essentially a fraud?
We addressed the topic on ESPN1100 in Las Vegas, discussing the premise that most athletes from previous eras were never really that good because they wouldn't be able to compete with the modern-day athlete. Should they all be disrespected?
If that's the case, let's eliminate all pre-1980 NFL offensive linemen from the NFL Hall of Fame. After all, those 250 pounders would get destroyed today in an era of 300-pound behemoths. Frankly, 6-foot-6 power NBA Hall of Fame power forward Dave DeBusschere sucked and Joe Louis wasn't really a great heavyweight boxer. The guy fought most of his career between 195-205 pounds.
Not according to guys like Jim Rome, who teed up Fedor and smashed him out the park on Rome is Burning:
"Now it’s pretty obvious why he didn’t want to sign with the UFC. While Strikeforce does have competitive heavyweights, he didn’t want to fight the best of the best on the biggest stage, he knew better. He refused to take any chances; he milked it for all its worth and he got paid and then exposed and now it’s over."
Which company has a better heavyweight division is certainly up for debate. As far as "not taking chances and milking it," Rome is off base. Fedor wasn't afraid to face the UFC heavyweights and anyone who follows the story knows it's never been the fighter who's making the decision. If critics want to kill M-1, that's fine. But the fighter himself faced all comers and was a dominant forced from 2001-2006. Just like Chuck Liddell, Wanderlei Silva and Matt Hughes, the other dominant fighters of the time deserve respect, so does Fedor.
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