The beginning of the end for the San Jose-based fight promotion came as a shocker to many in the MMA business. One fateful March morning, all was the same as it had always been, with Strikeforce chugging along in the massive shadow cast by the juggernaut that is the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Then suddenly, the game got switched as Dana White and Co. added another name to their list of conquests. Cries of “business as usual” notwithstanding, the nineteen months since have been anything but. Without a doubt, this moment has forever changed the landscape of MMA and is one of the more memorable in all of the sport’s history — not just Strikeforce’s.
(Photo via Sherdog)
Man + Myth + Legend = Fedor. Luck + 1 soul traded to Satan = Werdum.
Emelianenko, much like the Titanic, was quite the spectacle to behold back in the day. The media lauded them heavily for reasons both real and imagined. And, as history records it, both ended up sinking despite the popular notion that both were invincible.
Going into the fight, “The Last Emperor” was high atop a 31-1 record; not losing a fight in over a decade — and even that sole loss was due to an illegal blow. (Not exactly a “defeat,” right champ?) For the record, Werdum was no slouch; his only loss in the previous two years came at the hands of current UFC heavyweight champion Junior dos Santos. Still, no one thought the reigning ADCC heavyweight champ had a chance to defeat the legendary Fedor, let alone finish him barely a minute into the first round. To put into perspective just how unlikely of an outcome this was, just take a look at the betting line.
Such a monumental shift in paradigm made for an incredibly historic night. I’m not sure the words “Holy Sh*t!” have ever been uttered by so many people at once. It’s been said that crews working in the International Space Station a whopping 220 miles above Earth’s surface could hear those two words. No matter how old you get or how shot your mind is, if you were an MMA fan in 2010 you will forever recall the night Fedor’s myth got busted.
‘Strikeforce: Nashville’ Brawl Broadcast Live on CBS
When you watch a fight on TV, no matter the combatants or their records, you know full well that anything can happen and that both men have a chance of winning — however small it may be. Even Fabricio Werdum had a chance, albeit not a good one, to upset Emelianenko. What happened in the final moments of the Strikeforce: Nashville event was not even in the realm of possibility. It had absolutely zero chance of happening — and yet it did.
The infamous picture of Nick Diaz (man, he sure has been talked about a lot today) drawing back his fist, mean mug in full effect, is the image that nearly every fight fan conjures up when discussing the biggest black eye on the sport. My colleague Jared Jones has already covered the ins and outs of this epic post-fight confrontation, eliminating the need to rehash the details here, but no way could this list be complete without the most electrifying, controversial, ridiculous, and horrifying moment in the six-plus-year history of Strikeforce MMA. For those who get it, no further explanation is needed. For those who don’t, no explanation will suffice.