Thursday, October 16, 2008

Where Do You Find 16 Guys Who Actually Want to Fight Fedor Emelianenko?

Not only do they want to fight the baddest human on the planet, they're going to fight each other first to earn that ultimate right. So the ultimate "purse" is to stare into the dead eyes of Fedor Emelianenko.

And again I ask the question, where did they find these men?

Apparently, the answer is somewhere outside the red, white, and blue borders. Well, to be totally accurate, I should say outside of our red, white, and blue borders.

Apparently in countries like Bulgaria and Finland.

I'm not gonna say I'm skeptical, but why toss out Bulgaria and Finland? That's like, the population of Illinois - combined. It's an awfully small sample size from which to draw the darkest of horses. And it's not like you hear a ton about Finnish or Bulgarian fighters.

In fact, I think I could name a Bulgarian quidditch player before I could name one of their fighters.

And this is the Last Emperor.

This is a man who dismantled the UFC's former Heavyweight Champion in 36 seconds. Despite a seven-inch height differential and giving away about 30 pounds.

This is a man who has methodically intimidated the biggest and nastiest men ON THE PLANET into paralysis of action.

This is a man against whom few people believe the UFC's most dominating force at the height of its popularity, Anderson the Spider Silva, would have a chance.

I would never insinuate an actual causal connection betweeen the two because I love the Spider. He is my favorite MMA fighter to watch and I don't believe that man is scared of any mortal man. Nor do I think he has a reason to. My belief that he would pose a special problem for Fedor have been debated (well, not debated so much as politely decried).

But it must be pointed out that, as MMA fans turn up the volume on talk of a Silva-Fedor dream fight, reports of Silva's retirement begin to surface. Again, I'm not implying the two are related except to point out the coincidence.

After all, Silva is an absolute assassin and trained by one of the few men to give Fedor a legitimate fight, Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira.

The point is that even the mere coincidence demands mention because of Fedor's reputation.

The point is this is not a man for whom you will find a worthy challenger by plumbing the nether-regions of the MMA world.

Of course, I guess the odds of the winner being able to stand toe-to-toe with Emelianenko are so slim that the entire concept is built around bucking the odds.

To hell with the numbers. Make 'em as long as possible. To hell with reason. Chase away all but its whisper.

And you know what, it might work.

Let's face it, there is a formula to successful reality television. I won't pretend to know what it is since the only example I watch on a consistent basis is the Ultimate Fighter. But judging from it and the rest of the offal floating around the airwaves, I'd say several key components are insanity, long odds, friction, and the potential for it all to culminate in a train wreck that makes viewers keep coming back despite the dirty feeling.

With 16 fighters who are unbalanced enough to fight for the right to look into the abyss, I'd say they've got all four covered.

Plus, they've got the insurance of Donald Trump.

And he's playing the straight-man here: "I don’t know who these folks are that are trying to qualify to get a fight with Fedor. I wouldn’t particularly like to do that. I can think of a lot of other things I’d rather be doing.”

Fedor surrounded by a bunch of people in which Trump sounds the voice of reason?

Not really the direction you want to take MMA, but I'm afraid it just might work.

That's really bad news for these 16 poor souls.

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