(The photographer immediately regrets his joking suggestion that Fedor and Brett finish with a shot of them kissing.)
Going into a fight against Fedor Emelianenko has got to be terrifying. We get that. And in order to convince your feet to carry you into the ring, you probably have to tell yourself some crazy stuff. Stuff like, ‘I have a very good chance at winning this fight,’ or, ‘Maybe he got cursed by a gypsy a couple weeks ago.’ But Brett Rogers seems to be taking the practice of lying to one’s self before a Fedor fight to an entirely new level. First, he insisted that faking an injury would be the key to beating Emelianenko. Now he says that, when you really get down to it, Fedor’s accomplishments aren’t any more impressive than his.
Talking with CageReport.net, Rogers said of Fedor, "He might be 30-1 but half those wins weren’t even under MMA rules, if you only count his MMA fights our records would look about the same."
Without further clarification on that comment, we have to assume that Rogers is talking about Fedor’s fights in the Rings organization between 2000-2003. True, Rings did operate under different rules, barring things like elbow strikes (such as the one that paradoxically caused Emelianenko’s only career loss) and ground-and-pound, but it’s not as if we’re talking about point karate tournaments here. They were still real fights.
For the sake of argument, let’s accept “The Grimm’s” claim that those early battles don’t count, even though this is the same guy who just said that he had never really followed Fedor’s career. But if you take those twelve Rings fights away, Fedor is 18-0 with wins against guys like Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (twice), Mirko Filipovic (when he was in his prime), Mark Coleman (ditto), Andrei Arlovski (see also: Breaking Points), and Zuluzinho (SIKE!).
Compare that to Rogers, who is 10-0 with wins against guys like Andrei Arlovski, Abongo Humphrey, James Thompson, and Stan Strong.
The point is, even if you rule out the first few years of Fedor’s career because of differences in rules, he’s still a pretty damn dominant heavyweight. Just like if you discount Randy Couture’s experience in Rings, he’s 13-8 and still a UFC hall of famer.
Clearly, Rogers is trying to find some way to cut through the mystique of Fedor so he can fight him with the same misguided confidence he had against Arlovski. It’s kind of like when your girlfriend tells you she’s been with forty different guys before you, and you tell yourself that it’s not that bad because six of those were in one night so they really count as one. We don’t begrudge Rogers the right to lie to himself about how good Fedor is; we just wish that he had the good sense not to trot his lies out in public.
Keep them where they belong: locked in a special room in your mind that you only go into when it’s three a.m. and you can’t close your eyes without seeing one of those overhand murderballs coming at your face. Then get up and take an Ambien. You’ll be fine.