Fedor Armbars Choi, Finds It A Hollow Acheivement

In case you haven’t heard, Fedor Emelianenko won his circus fight with Korean giant Hong Man Choi in the Yarennoka New Year’s Eve show. The outcome was never really in doubt, especially when you consider that Yarennoka changed the rules for this bout to ban knee strikes, one of Choi’s best and only weapons.

The fight took less than two minutes and resulted in this fairly comedic but utterly meaningless armbar. Now that it’s over, I can’t help but wonder what’s going through Fedor’s mind. Is he sitting around some Japanese hotel room right now, watching senseless game shows and trying to avoid looking at himself in the mirror? Does he periodically feel sad for no explainable reason, and does this sadness linger until he checks his bank account balance? What does he tell himself about what he’s become?

It’s not that I don’t understand why a Russian fighter who grew up so poor he had to share a coat with his brother Aleks (a hilarious mental image) would sell out the first chance he got, which is what Fedor has done, let’s just admit it. As The Million Dollar Man used to say, everybody has a price (yes, most of my life philosophy comes from late 80’s-early 90’s pro wrestling). But the difference between Fedor and the rest of humanity is that Fedor didn’t have to sell out to get rich. Fedor had a choice, and now he has to live with making the wrong one.

Whatever rumor you believe about how much the UFC was offering Fedor to sign on and fight Randy Couture, you have to think it was a lot of money. We’re talking somewhere in the millions, after contracts and bonuses and sponsorships are factored in. But Fedor turned that down, or rather, his management team did. They turned it down so he could fight in M-1, which currently only exists in the form of a Fedor rental operation.

In other words, Fedor is being used.  That’s not so bad, I suppose.  Every fighter gets used to some extent.  But Fedor is doing it at the expense of his legacy, his reputation, and maybe his dignity.  Honestly, does anyone consider a victory over Hong Man Choi — a man with only one previous MMA bout — to be a serious accomplishment for someone who is supposed to be the world’s best heavyweight?  In the post-fight press conference Fedor again mentioned how much he’d like to fight Randy Couture, but by walking away from a UFC contract he’s already essentially turned that fight down.

At some point, Fedor has to stop and ask himself how much money is enough.  How much is it worth to squander great potential in matchups that amount to little more than practical jokes?  How much is it worth to be remembered as the guy who might have been great?  I hate to say it, but right now it looks as though greed — either on the part of Fedor, his management team, or both — is destroying what could have been a legendary career.



Filed under Fedor Emelianenko, Hong Man Choi, MMA, Sports, Uncategorized

5 responses to “Fedor Armbars Choi, Finds It A Hollow Acheivement

  1. Chuckie

    Sometimes its more of standing up for what you believe in.You or I weren’t there at the contract talks,so it’s hard for anyone to say what someone should do with his career.We all know the UFC’s rep for Adolf Hitler like tactics.Maybe he just did not want to give in to that.They can cut his contract then badmouth him if he loses and ‘s stuck there if he wins.He cant do sambo,which is huge in Russia.I would understand if the UFC had industry wide respect and class when dealing with fighters.Then your opinion might be a valid one.But you know that obviously is not the case.Your comments are just selfish and ignorant in this matter.Don’t get me wrong I check your blog every day looking for a new post.I like your blog alot.But you are off the mark on this one.There are alot of cultural and economic differences between the three countries.(including for Japan)to make this thing work out the way they did.So stop thinking like a dumb American.

  2. The Fighting Life

    Let me ask you this, Chuckie. What exactly does Fedor believe in if turning down the UFC contract to fight Hong Man Choi in Yarennoka for millions of dollars (most of which is paid to M-1 for his services) is indicative of his ethical code? The UFC may not have the best reputation for negotiating, but they do have the best fighters, particularly in the HW division.

    Do you honestly believe Fedor (personally) turned it down in order to make a statement, or does it seem more likely that his management team wanted more for themselves than the UFC was offering? Having spoken to his management, face to face, I can tell you I’m more inclined to believe the latter.

    As for Sambo, do you know how many Sambo matches Fedor fought in to win this year’s title? One. The other competitors withdrew. It’s just a nominal title for him at this point.

    If wanting Fedor to fight real competition instead of sideshow matches makes me a dumb American, I guess that’s what I’ll be. But notice that I wouldn’t complain if he were fighting Josh Barnett in Japan, or anywhere else, or if he were even fighting a top 20 heavyweight. But he’s not, and that’s too bad.

  3. Chuckie

    Well part of being an American is earning and being able to take opportunities.He afforded himself great opportunity in his country by becoming a world class fighter.He found the best one for himself.Just because it’s a sport that is worldwide does make him in an employee of everyone who is a fan of his.Im sure if you could write MMA for yahoo you would go do it.Because it’s better opportunity.Even if you had to sacrifice some things in life…….If you think his management is taking too much money,Im sure the bottom line for him is the same.I’m sure he probably doesn’t have any tax problems like he would get here in the USA.They probably just give him a bag of money.I don’t think it matters to him where,or who he fights.Hearing about how and where he lives,i am sure he’s not living like a wealthy person.So I don’t know what to make of that.But he doesn’t really owe us anything.He might owe it to himself to fight better competition.But he also owes it to his family to make as much money as possible, and to be available to them as much as possible.I wish he would fight here also,but he has to do what he’s gotta do.
    I thought it was pretty cool that he was fighting for PRIDE..ooops sorry Yeronoka on NYE anyways.It takes legitimacy away from the UFC by not having the best fighter in the world.So when someone brings that up to a typical TUF watching fan who believes UFC is to mma as to what kleenex is to tissue paper.Maybe they will realize that there are other places in the world in all different aspects of mma and life in general that are better than what is right in front of their face.Because the UFC makes most of their money from TUF American noobs,and it markets to their ignorance.

  4. Pyke

    Under Pride rules, in open classes, knees to a downed opponent were optional if the weights were within 30lbs or so…and were NOT an option if one fighter outweighed the other by 100 or more pounds.

    It wasn’t some new idea to protect Fedor’s winning streak, it’s a standard rule.

  5. The Fighting Life

    Pyke, Yarennoka took knees out entirely in the Fedor-Choi bout, not just knees on the ground. Considering knee strikes when standing were one of Choi’s best weapons in K-1, that’s significant.

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