(No ice cream and vodka makes Fedor an angry stone-faced killer. Poor Hendo.)
For years MMA fans and analysts have hypothesized about what would happen if Fedor Emelianenko moved down a weight class to light heavyweight. Most salivated at the proposition of how much more dominant the once thought invincible Russian would be if he laid off the ice cream and vodka and moved down to fight at his more natural weight. Although the six-foot-tall, 230-pound fighter did quite well against much bigger opponents, he really wasn’t doing himself any favors by fighting giants with considerable height and weight advantages.
From Fedor Emelianenko to Dwayne Lewis, gruesome eye injuries are so hot right now in MMA. So we thought we’d make them the subject of our latest photo tribute. Because it’s all fun and games until…you know. Lots more after the jump.
(“OK Shane, now make vacant, dead-eyed love to the camera … beautiful …” Pic: DwightMcCann.com)
Remember the clamor of self-righteous public outcry that sprang up a couple weeks ago – mostly from the vigilant moral watchdogs who write for this website – when it seemed like Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker was already angling to get Fedor Emelianenko back in his company’s heavyweight tournament mere moments after his loss to Antonito “Bigfoot” Silva via aura-shattering doctor stoppage? What about all those so-called alternate bouts, we shrieked, voices cracking. What about 10-1 Chad Griggs and poor, overlooked Valentijn Overeem? What about Shane del Rosario, who we thought clearly put himself in the pole position with his slick submission on Lavar Johnson during the closing minute of the first round? We were fucking outraged. Oh, the hypocrisy!
As Japanese MMA seems to slowly dwindle away from the glory days of the sport, hardcore fans like myself shed a tear for our great loss. It wasn’t just knowing those obscure 135-pounders whose names had syllables our gaijin tongues could barely pronounce, or the fact that it was the land where stomping and soccer-kicking a human being in the face was perfected into a sweet science. More than that, it was the stars that were produced that we came to know and love, whether they were fighting someone on their level or tearing open a tomato can — and that is where this list begins.
Blatant mismatches aside, JMMA gave us so many beautiful fights with men like Fedor Emelianenko, Mirko “Crocop” Filipovic (go tell your favorite TUF noob that his last name is not Crocop and relish in their confusion), Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Ikuhisa Minowa and Kazushi Sakuraba. For every epic bout that went into the history books for their unbelievable drama, we had other fights that we remember for less than pleasant reasons. Yes, the freak show fights! What would a JMMA event be without a match worthy of a 1930′s carnival? The big question here was how do I rank something that is mediocre to begin with? Well, I’m as clueless as you are, so let’s get started on this journey down “Freak Show Lane,” across the street from “What Were They Thinking? Boulevard”…
10. Daiju Takase vs. Emmanuel Yarbrough
Pride 3, 6/24/98
This was the first freak show fight in Pride history, and earns a place on this list for that merit alone. It pit 169 lb. Daiju Takase against 600 lb. Emmanuel Yarbrough, who most fans will recall was clobbered into submission by Keith Hackney and his broken hand at UFC 3 (Yarbrough has no luck in any event associated with the number three). The sumo plodded around the ring tossing his hamhock arms at Takase, while the smaller Japanese fighter fled and slowly wore down Yarbrough.
Takase makes the mistake of going for a lazy single leg on Yarbrough, which results in the large fighter flopping onto his belly and absorbing Takase into his flesh. As Stephen Quadros lamented, “This is horrible! This is like “Jaws!” Eventually, Takase slid out from the greasy underside of Manny, and in an ending eerily similiar to his UFC 3 fight, Takase went to town with clubbing hands to his exhausted opponent’s face, leading to a tapout in the middle of the second round.
(Before you criticize Torres for fighting smart against Banuelos, take a moment to refer back to that picture where you can see his freaking skull, would you please? PicProps: ESPN)
Remember back in 2004, when Nelly and Tim McGraw recorded that terrible duet and then made a video utilizing the magic of split-screen technology to show us that – while they might look and sound very different – they were actually leading surprisingly similar parallel lives? Man, if only we could do the same thing with Miguel Torres and Fedor Emelianenko right now. This situation practically screams for a buddy comedy: One is a wise-cracking former bantamweight champion from Chicago who tweets like a madman and lives life in the fast lane. The other is a stoic Russian former heavyweight champion who prefers the quiet surroundings of Stary Oskol over the city and likely considers the internet a form of witchcraft. Oh brother, these two will never get along, right? Wrong.
Torres and Emelianenko are actually more alike than you might think, as Torres himself points out to MMA Fighting.com this week. Both guys were once the undisputed kings of their respective weight classes, but in recent times both have been cast into adversity by a pair of high profile defeats. It just so happens that Torres is a little bit further along the path to redemption than Emelanenko is, so he has some friendly professional advice for his unlikely spirit brother. Oh, also it kind of sounds like he’s totally pissed about the recent (unwarranted) criticism of his (winning) performance in his UFC debut. It’s all after the jump.
By Anton Gurevich Reminder: As part of a new content partnership, we will occasionally be passing along interesting articles from our friends at LowKick.com/MMA. So give ‘em a look…
Fedor Emelianenko’s dramatic defeat against Antonio Silva last weekend at the IZOD Center in New Jersey sparked a very heated, and I must admit quite one-sided, debate in the Mixed Martial Arts community. Who’s to blame for Fedor Emelianenko’s two consecutive defeats? It looks like everyone has an automatic answer to this question — Fedor’s management, M-1 Global.
People seem to forget that outside of being Fedor’s management, M-1 Global is a fighting promotion which organizes events all around the world. And just like any promotion, they have to protect their interests, and to defend their main asset, which in this case is “The Last Emperor” Fedor Emelianenko…
But blaming M-1 for Fedor’s lackluster performances makes no sense at all. Just like bringing up the “psychic” comments made by Fedor’s coaches. Yes, you can question M-1′s negotiation tactics, but this has nothing to do with Fedor’s performance inside the cage.
When a story came out today by a Russian news site quoting Fedor Emelianenko’s coach Vladimir Voronov blaming “The Last Emperor’s” loss to Antonio Silva on illegal psychological control maneuvers employed by “Bigfoot’s” camp, most of us shrugged it off as bullshit, however there might be some truth to the story.
(That’s a lot of suitcases for a dude who clearly only owns one set of clothing. PicProps: LifeSports.ru)
Oh, boy. We really only see three options here: Either a report out on Wednesday from the Russian language website LifeSports.ru lost something during its conversion to English, the following interview is a complete hoax or the people responsible for training the greatest heavyweight MMA fighter of all time are way, way, way, way, way crazier than we even thought. According to a translation provided by the good people at Fighters Only, Fedor Emelianenko coach Vladimir Voronov told LifeSports this week he thinks Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva used psychic mind controlto claim victory last Saturday night in the opening round of the Strikeforce heavyweight grand prix. No, we are not fucking kidding you. Check it out:
“We believe that forbidden psychological technology was used …,” Voronov told the website. “It seems to us that not everything was right, and that certain technologies were used. Not ones that could be seen by the naked eye but psychological technologies that worked on both fighters at a distance … That is why during the fight Fedor was just not like himself. It seemed very strange behavior from Fedor. He stepped into the ring and did everything exactly the opposite of what we practiced before the fight. We were all shocked! Fedor had never previously done such a thing.”
You think that sounds insane? Brother, you haven’t even read the weirdest part yet …
In the aftermath of Fedor Emelianenko‘s upset loss to Antonio Silva last weekend — four months after Brock Lesnar was roughly stripped of his UFC title by Cain Velasquez — MMA’s global heavyweight picture is in a state of flux. So, we figured it was a good time to launch a new rankings feature on CagePotato. Every week, Ben, Mike and Chad will try to justify their top five rankings for each weight division, and we’re kicking things off with the big boys. Check out our thoughts below, and let us know how you see MMA’s current heavyweight top five…
Ben Goldstein 1. Cain Velasquez: I think we can all agree he’s the top dog right now. In one fight, Brock Lesnar’s reputation went from “toughest S.O.B. on the planet” to “man-baby who goes fetal at the first sign of pressure.” You can blame/thank Cain for that. Aside from getting wobbled a couple times by Cheick Kongo, he’s cruised through all nine of his career fights with no difficulty whatsoever.
2. Junior Dos Santos: A future champion who has put together one of the most impressive contendership runs in UFC history. I think he’ll be able to add Lesnar to his list of scalps in June. And then…?
3. Brock Lesnar: With such a massive psychological hole in his game and just a 5-2 overall record, it’s weird calling Brock the third greatest heavyweight in the world. I’m not sure I agree with myself here. But until Werdum and Overeem face off in April, neither of those guys deserves to be called top three either.