Fedor Emelianenko went out on his shield.
“The Last Emperor” made his final walkout for a fight on Saturday at Bellator 290 in Inglewood, Calif., to challenge Ryan Bader for the heavyweight title. This was the second meeting between the two and like the first, which ended in a 35-second knockout for Bader, Emelianenko found himself overwhelmed.
This time it took Bader a little longer to score a first-round finish, but his performance was no less impressive and it certainly left no question that this should be the last we see of the once indomitable Emelianenko.
Such a momentous occasion drew plenty of reactions from the MMA community, with some lamenting Emelianenko going out on a loss, some praising Bader’s excellence, and all recognizing the enormity of the occasion.
Past foe Tim Sylvia made sure to call Emelianenko “the GOAT of heavyweights,” while current UFC bantamweight contender Rob Font had a more somber reaction, writing, “Sad way to go.”
See more reactions to Emelianenko’s retirement bout here.
Hate seeing fedor going out like that. It was a honor to share the ring with him. And he was a truly nice guy. Much respect to the GOAT of heavyweights.— Tim Sylvia (@timsylviamma) February 5, 2023
Sad way to go #Bellator290— RobFont (@RobSFont) February 5, 2023
Still love you fedor! Hope he has a great life in retirement. Brutal sport. https://t.co/CTKGpUKpCb— Matt Brown (@IamTheImmortal) February 5, 2023
Respect https://t.co/sfAd4IGCO0— RAUFEON (@RaufeonStots) February 5, 2023
Damn that was sad but cool to see all the legends get in there and support Fedor— Dan Ige (@Dynamitedan808) February 5, 2023
Dam this scene at bellator for fedor is awesome to see all these legends— Sean BRADY (@seanbradymma) February 5, 2023
Ryan Bader is a bad mfkr— Terrance McKinney (@twrecks155) February 5, 2023
Another legend down fedor you was a dawg thank you— Terrance McKinney (@twrecks155) February 5, 2023
February 5, 2023
Damn…— Alan Jouban (@AlanJouban) February 5, 2023
Man Fedor— Saidyokub Kakhramonov (@SaidYokubMMA) February 5, 2023
Fedor getting the Frankie Edgar retirement treatment makes me big sad #Bellator290— Jeff Molina (@jmolina_125) February 5, 2023