Memo to Strikeforce: Fire Fedor

By Jake Rossen Aug 13, 2010
Leverage is fantastic for as long as you have it. When Harrison Ford can open a movie consistently, he can grab as many huge checks and obnoxious trailer perks he likes. But when a film tanks, that goes out the window.

Fedor Emelianenko bombed big-time against Fabricio Werdum in June. Call it a fluke or a careless mistake -- and it’s probably a little of both -- but he blew it, took his whole cyborg routine and wiped it clean.

OK. Fine. Rematch Werdum. Can’t do it because Werdum is injured? No big deal. Fight Alistair Overeem or Antonio Silva instead. But Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker claims that Overeem and Silva are fighting each other in the fall.

It is at this point we should begin to consider the idea that Emelianenko is officially more trouble than he’s worth.

There is no one outside of Overeem and Silva that makes any kind of sense for Emelianenko at this point in time. (I suppose Strikeforce could salvage the Josh Barnett fight, and it would be semi-worthwhile, but God knows what his licensing hassles would involve.) Emelianenko’s management refusing either fight tells me they want a “confidence builder” so the Russian can polish some of the armor that got dulled against Werdum. It’s not something Coker should be willing to accommodate, especially when the remainder of that division harbors Mike Kyle and Herschel Walker.

If the Werdum loss was just a transient mistake, there’s no reason for Emelianenko to be rebuilt. He should be in there against top competition. If that’s not on the table, the massive cost of employing him is nonsensical. It’s a money drain for very little payoff: Emelianenko isn’t drawing ratings far outside the norm and he no longer carries the cache of being the Best Fighter Ever. Refusing a fight with Overeem or Silva means he’s a barnacle. Give him his one last contracted fight -- let Daniel Cormier either get a fast lesson or the chance at a huge upset -- and then cut him loose. Fighters fight; they don’t balk.
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