’ve struggled to find a way to open my column to talk about Saturday Night’s Strikeforce event. If I’d have told you last June that the once unbeatable Fedor Emelianenko would lost three consecutive fights, would you believe me?
Well I never said that, as much as in hindsight I wish I would have, because it would prove me to be the analytical genius that I truly am (see WrestleMania predictions, Jon Jones’ general career). However, I truly doubt anyone imagined the steep decline in success experienced by what many consider the best fighter of all time. Not to mention the fact that all three of his defeats have occurred via stoppage, although not without controversy.
Personally, I don’t see a controversy in the stoppage at all. Dan Henderson (Fedor’s opponent…the guy that…won the fight, yeah I’ll talk about him) had Fedor’s face in the mat and back end in the air as if a nurse was about to deliver a suppository. Immediately out of the gate, the two legends of the sport threw caution to the wind and attempted to land reckless bombs on one another, with both landing. The pace was slowed a bit as Henderson and Fedor worked the clinch. That was not to last long however as is appeared if Fedor was in control, until Henderson utilized his excellent Greco- roman background following by a thunderous shot that rendered Fedor UNABLE TO CONTINUE.
Of course on the internet, where 95 percent of MMA Journalism takes place, everyone has an opinion. How anyone could say Fedor was able to continue simply because he was able to conjure up the energy to roll to his back is delusional. It is much better to live to fight another day as opposed to drinking your meals through a straw. Sure the fight could have gone on a little longer, but in a situation where the sport is struggling to become regulated in the biggest American market (New York), would we really want a late stoppage used as additional ammunition against our cause? I think not.
So where do the two go from here? Dan Henderson is still the Light Heavyweight champion of the world, so title defenses are surely on the horizon for the new “ageless wonder” of MMA. Fedor retirement speculation is surely to go absolutely crazy, but I don’t think that will be a factor until Showtime’s ratings are in. If the show rates well, I’d imagine Strikeforce will hang on to him. If not, a very likely scenario is that the company will no longer do business with Fedor, and more importantly, M-1 Global. If the cash, and overall exposure isn’t great enough to warrant co-promotion, Zuffa will put a stop to it.
In an otherwise unspectacular card, Tim Kennedy improved to 5-1 in Strikeforce with a big decision victory over Robbie Lawler, Tyron Woodley continued his impressive undefeated streak in a decision win over Paul “Semtex” Daley, and Miesha Tate pulled off a very nice Arm Triangle on Marloes Coenen to claim the Women’s Bantamweight Title.
Other Strikeforce news this week has overshadowed the card to an extent, as the company has parted ways with its Heavyweight Champion, Alistair Overeem. The champion was slated to take on Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva in the second round of the Heavyweight Grand Prix in September, but pulled out of the bout, citing inadequate preparation time, and a toe injury. However, Overeem took an outside booking in October, which his contract allows, and was subsequently released from the promotion, and replaced by a more than qualified Daniel Cormier (although it should have been Chad Griggs, as he’s won two reserve bouts).
I don’t see a problem in this release at all. He wouldn’t defend his title, he wouldn’t fight in the tournament, and therefore he is of no use to the company. Since winning the title in 2007, he’s fought twice in Strikeforce, while defending his title once. Not to say he’s been inactive, in that time, he’s also fought TEN times in K-1, and an additional TEN times in other MMA promotions. The USA will be fine without him, and he’ll be fine outside of the USA, as he is still the DREAM Heavyweight Champion.
Speaking of DREAM, they really improved the overall quality in their roster, as they picked up the top free agent in MMA, in Middleweight Gerald Harris. Immediately upon entering the roster, I see Harris as the most dangerous Middleweight involved with the company. The title within the division is currently vacant, so I could easily see him being placed in an immediate title match, unless a tournament is announced.
Also with Gerald “Hurricane” Harris fighting comes amazing highlight reel slams, something that will endear him to the Pro Wrestling loving crowds of Japan, in addition to him being one of the most entertaining athletes around. I attempted to reach Harris for comment but was unable to. (It probably WASN’T because I tweeted him at 1:30 AM for a comment or anything….probably not). Good luck to Mr. Harris.
Next week we have UFC 133 in store, and I’ll have all the action here for you next week . I’d originally planned on doing a pre-fight column, until my readers stressed to me that they don’t like Rashad Evans or Tito Ortiz. Rashad is guaranteeing a stoppage, but then again he also mailed Rampage Jackson a snuggie , after saying he’d put him “to sleep”. Well I don’t know about you all, but I feel like I was owed a snuggie as well, as I was asleep before the third round.
Until next time, FOLLOW SEAN ROSS SAPP ON TWITTER FOR BREAKING MMA AND WWE NEWS AND OPINIONS! You know you want to….because P. Diddy follows me.