(Emelianenko vs. Zuluzinho: Are you not entertained?)
For the last five years, Fedor Emelianenko has traditionally booked a fight on New Year’s Eve — always in Japan, usually against someone that has no business being in the ring with him. And despite a hand injury sustained in his Affliction: Banned bout against Tim Sylvia, the WAMMA heavyweight champ plans on keeping the streak alive. “I think definitely by New Year’s Eve I’ll be ready to go,” he recently told SI.com. And could he switch things up by fighting in the U.S. against someone competitive? Like, for example, the winner of “Day of Reckoning”‘s Arlovski/Barnett scrap? Not a chance, bro:
Early speculation centered on a rematch of Emelianenko’s tremendous points win in 2005 over Mirko Filipovic. However, a representative for the No. 1-ranked heavyweight said it’s doubtful the fight would take place at this time. In a bout intended for Japanese fight fans, Emelianenko will likely meet a “judo legend or sumo wrestler.”
My first thought is: Wow, does this suck for Affliction. They’re staking their fortune to their heavyweight division, but if Fedor and his championship belt won’t be available again until Spring ’09, all they can offer is a few interesting (though ultimately meaningless) exhibitions. And with Emelianenko’s right hand as dodgy as it is, “Spring ’09″ is only a rough estimate; an injury sustained on New Year’s Eve could delay his return to Affliction even further. (Regarding the hand, Emelianenko said: “It just seems the hand doesn’t really sustain the strength of the strike. So from time to time I’m going to have certain injuries as a result of that.”)
Of course my second thought is: Still with the goddamned freaks? Beating up a 90-year-old judoka or Emmanuel Yarborough interests you more than fighting another top ten heavyweight?
And speaking of Fedor destroying cans in totally meaningless fights, Fighting Fedor — the reality show in which MMA hopefuls compete for the chance to get armbarred in less than a minute by The Last Emperor — is in production and will purportedly launch later this year. Look, I’m not calling Fedor a farce, I’m just saying that occasionally he acts in a way that could be described as farce-like.