That’s according to ESPN blowhard Jim Rome, who “burned” the “Last Emperor” (transcription via BloodyElbow.com) on a recent episode of his show for his technical knockout (doctor’s stoppage) loss to Antonio Silva this past weekend under the Strikeforce banner:
“No matter how good you are, you will lose. Everybody does, there are so many different disciplines and everybody gets caught at some point. But, that’s not what happened to Fedor Emelianenko Saturday against Antonio Silva. After going a decade without losing, he follows up last summer’s loss to Fabricio Werdum by getting his face beaten in Saturday. And that’s no fluke, that’s not a guy getting suckered into a savvy submission hold or just getting caught with one big shot in the chin. That was a bigger, stronger, better fighter on top of Fedor pounding him senseless. Silva said that he was surprised that the doctors stopped the fight. Surprised or disappointed? Did you bother to check that piece of meat that you were bludgeoning between shots. Trust me, he had enough. Fedor admitted enough afterwards, quote, ‘Maybe it’s time to leave … Maybe it’s the last time, maybe it’s high time.’ No, maybe’s about it, if anything it’s probably past time. Now it’s pretty obvious why he didn’t want to sign with the UFC. While Strikeforce does have competitive heavyweights, he didn’t want to fight the best of the best on the biggest stage, he knew better. He refused to take any chances; he milked it for all its worth and he got paid and then exposed and now it’s over.”
Is it possible that the great Fedor Emelianenko refused to compete inside the Octagon because he knew his best days were behind him? Jim Rome thinks so … and he’s probably not alone.
While the terms of his current fight contract are murky, it’s crystal clear that UFC President Dana White would have possibly sold his soul as recently as about a year ago if it would have lured the elusive Russian into the UFC cage. In fact, White even admitted that he was obsessed with Emelianenko, flying to “crazy” places and offering top dollar to retain his services. In the end, a deal could not be struck between the UFC and the crazy Ruskies because Emelianenko and his M-1 entourage decided to co-promote with (and fight for) Strikeforce. Money didn’t seem to be the issue — White probably has enough of it between the seats of his wrecked Ferarri to cover the expense. So did Emelianenko take the easy way out to stay relevant and get paid in the twilight of his career? Or did he actually take the harder route because Strikeforce has the better talent when it comes to heavyweights?