Although Fedor Emelianenko hinted his potential G.O.A.T. career may have come to an end Saturday night inside the IZOD Center in New Jersey, Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker suggested the Fedor’s participation in their Heavyweight Grand Prix may be far from over.
“There’s absolutely a possibility he could be a replacement,” Coker said at the post-fight press conference. “That’s the beauty of the tournament. You don’t know what could happen in the next leg of the tournament.
“As this tournament unwinds over the year, there could be an injury and you could see Fedor back in the tournament.”
In addition to witnessing Antonio Silva do THIS to his biggest meal ticket’s right eye, Coker also saw Emelianenko’s bandwagon empty out rather quickly. While detractors were busy kicking the 34-year-old out the door, the promoter did his best to leave the slightest crack in it for the Russian to return.
“It was a tough fight out there. Like Alistair [Overeem] said, ‘Fedor always comes back in the 3rdRound.’ But he didn’t get a chance,” Coker said. “[With] the stoppage, I don’t think Fedor could see.
“He may have even had an orbital fracture, but safety comes first. He’ll have another day.”
Oh, will he?
“Maybe it’s the time to leave. Maybe it’s high time,” Emelianenko said after dropping his record to 31-3 (1 NC). “Thank you for everything. I spent a great, beautiful, long sporting life. Maybe it’s God’s will.”
Despite Emelianenko’s impromptu statement, Coker and M-1 Global president Vadim Finkelchtein both believe fans haven’t seen the last of “The Last Emperor.” Then again, what else are they supposed to say (or pray for)?
“You know how that goes,” Coker said of Emelianenko’s potential retirement. “Guys get very emotional after fights. We’ll see.”
Speaking of seeing, Emelianenko was issued a 90-day medical suspension following the mauling. Coker expects for the HW GP to conclude before the year wraps.