Photo courtesy of FedorMMA.com.
With Fedor Emelianenko’s summer showdown with Tim Sylvia hopefully all but set in stone, it’s refreshing to see the popular Russian taking on an opponent that is highly ranked in the eyes of just about everyone.
Emelianenko’s last true challenge came against Mirko Filipovic in PRIDE almost three years ago (or against Mark Hunt if you had him ranked high enough) and MMA media and fans alike have spouted constant criticism ever since.
The Fedor-Sylvia matchup brings along with it many potential positives. Along with the fact that one of mixed martial arts’ hypothetical dream bouts is about to be signed, sealed, and delivered, fans longing for a promotion to become a viable alternative to the two Zuffa-owned organizations may finally have a prospect in Affliction Clothing and those working with them.
The rumored roster alone gives them at least an outside chance.
However the appearance of initial success also has the possibility of ending badly for some, possibly for all who were irked at the situation surrounding the world’s top heavyweight. Is it possible that Fedor’s next fight could cause history to repeat itself?
With the bout against Sylvia heavily rumored to be run behind the scenes by a working trio of Affliction, Mark Cuban, and Monte Cox, Fedor’s talks with the Ultimate Fighting Championship and Elite Xtreme Combat, the biggest suitors in the battle for MMA’s first high-profile free agent have likely stopped, at least for the near future.
Thus Fedor’s dabbling with yet another promotion that has yet to actually put on an event fails to give him the permanent home he lost after PRIDE crumbled to the ground.
Along with the lack of stability could also come yet another lack of viable competition for Fedor. With the road after Sylvia likely only sporting Josh Barnett at the moment, who is rumored to have joined Affliction’s stable of fighters, the criticism that has nearly forced Emelianenko from his heavyweight throne could instantly return.
But what about Randy Couture?
Dana White and company are seemingly intent on making Couture pay for his decision to resign as UFC heavyweight champion and it feels like it will be forever until we finally see Couture set free, especially if a Las Vegas court decides that Couture must fulfill his contract with the organization or stay retired.
Regardless of the outcome of the Zuffa-Couture battle, an even worse blow to what would be the biggest fight in MMA history could be Sylvia actually pulling an upset and defeating Emelianenko. With Couture already dominating Sylvia over five rounds last March, to say that a Couture-Fedor matchup might lose some of it’s luster is an understatement.
A Fedor loss would leave Couture right back where he is today, searching for one last big-time fight before he bows out into the distance. Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira is a likely replacement but will potential burned bridges with the UFC ultimately leave Couture in limbo forever?
Lost in all of the commotion is Sylvia, who despite losing two out of his last three bouts, is still looking to fight the best fighters available. While a Sylvia win would take his career to new heights and erase memories of past defeats, a loss could potentially send Sylvia out of the spotlight and right into an uphill battle. It’s a pattern we’ve seen all too often recently.
So again I’ll pose the question: Is it possible that Fedor’s next fight could cause history to repeat itself? Just something to think about…