New York, NY (February 13, 2011) – With ringside physicians electing to halt the start of the third and final round between Fedor Emelianenko and BigFoot Silva, the legendary “Last Emperor’ suffered the second loss of his career and spoke with sincere emotion about the possibility of retirement. With his future to be determined, the humble, competitive warrior will reflect on the loss and announce his intentions in the near future. More details will follow on the official M-1 Global website (www.M-1Global.com).
In Saturday night’s M-1 Global and Strikeforce co-promoted event which kicked off the start of the Heavyweight Grand Prix tournament live on Showtime, Fedor “The Last Emperor” Emelianenko faced formidable opponent Antonio ‘BigFoot’ Silva in the evening’s main event. With each fighter earning a round to their name, the contest has halted by ring-side physicians prior to starting the third and deciding frame; Emelianenko had suffered damage to his right eye that was enough to warrant the stoppage via TKO as a safety precaution.
Speaking inside the cage, an emotional Emelianenko eluded that the fight may have been the last of his iconic career. “I want to thank for you for your support,’’ said Fedor (31-3, 1 NC), a class act and sportsman win or lose. “Something was wrong from the beginning. I didn’t adjust. Maybe it is time to leave.’’ When pressed in the cage afterward by Showtime announcer, Gus Johnson, whether this was indeed the last time he would fight, the revered Fedor said, “Yes, maybe this is last time, maybe it’s high time (to retire). I had a great, beautiful sporting life. Yes, maybe it’s time. Thank you very much for the support. Thank God for everything.’’ As one the greatest mixed martial artists of all time, Emelianenko will reflect on the loss and his future in the privacy of his family and friends and make a clear decision shortly.
Speaking with M-1 Global Director of Operations, Evgeni Kogan after the fight, the helmsman was honest and direct. “The Commission erred on the side of caution in stopping the bout when Fedor wanted to continue and we put our trust in their decision – a fighter’s safety is always paramount. Fedor trained harder than he ever had for this fight against Silva and we’ll never know what the outcome would have been had they entered into the third round. Tonight was disappointing.”
In subsequent post-fight interviews, Kogan was keenly optimistic regarding the future of M-1 Global. “Fedor is one the greatest fighters in MMA history and his legacy will always exist. Although his loss was unfortunate, it doesn’t affect our plans going forward; for M-1 Global’s day-to-day operations, it’s business as usual. We have a heavy schedule of events and significant announcements to make in the coming weeks. M-1 has over 80 fighters and Fedor is one of them. His legacy is helping the brand seek out and develop the next superstars of the sport.”
With M-1 Global’s direction crystal clear, Europe’s largest promotion is quickly closing in on its next event, M-1 Challenge XXIII: Guram vs. Grishin on Saturday March 5th from the Crocus City Arena in Moscow, Russia. The event will stream LIVE and for free on the official M-1 Global website (www.M-1Global.com) starting at 11:00am EST / 8:00am.
“This card is stacked,” said Kogan. “It sets an extremely high standard for us to maintain going forward. The title contention picture in the light heavyweight, lightweight and welterweight divisions will be crystal clear at the night’s end and after that we forge head-on for our return to the USA.”
With M-1 Challenge champions established in all five weight classes, a true contenders system will fuel events throughout 2011, driving M-1 Global’s growth as a leading brand in the US and international markets.
2011’s full slate of M-1 Challenge events held in the United States and Europe are primed to be mega-event spectaculars where Champions defend their titles and contenders jockey for position for a coveted shot at the gold. Feeding the contention system will be two Selection tournaments in 2011 with details being announced shortly.
Returning to US soil for 2011’s sophomore event, current lightweight champ, Artiom Damkovsky is gearing for his first title defense against 2010 M-1 Selection Americas winner, Jose Figueroa, at M-1 Challenge XXIV on Friday March 25th from the Constant Center in Norfolk, Virginia.
For additional information, go to the official M-1 website, www.M-1Global.com and M-1 Global facebook fan page.