In late June, in the co-main event of Bellator NYC, Russian heavyweight legend Fedor Emelianenko had his lights shut off by UFC veteran Matt Mitrione. This loss marked the latest hiccup in Emelianenko’s clear decline, and in the opinion of Alistair Overeem, a heavyweight legend of the same vintage as Emelianenko, a signal that it might be time to hang up the gloves.
“I’m a fan of [Fedor’s],” he said. “I like him as a person but I’m having talks with my staff and my crew and my coaches about when is a good time to hang up the gloves. When does your performance start to diminish your legacy and your career? All legit questions I think and I think it goes for him too. He should have those conversations.”
“When you’re looking good in your performances, then you don’t need to have that talk. But when you’re looking bad in your performances, then I think you should need to have that talk. When you’re racking up some consecutive losses then you should start having those talks with yourself, with your foundation, with the people around you.”
“I know him but I don’t know him that well. I don’t know if the people around him are being honest with him. You don’t know if money is a factor, if money is a motivator because of course Fedor is making good money when he fights. Maybe his money ran out. You don’t know. There’s multiple factors always going on but I hope that he doesn’t destroy his legacy more.”
Overeem then called Emelianenko’s legacy into question, arguing that he didn’t fight top quality opposition for much of his career.
“What can you say about [Fedor’s legacy]?” he queried. “I think Fedor had a great run in 2002-2005 and after that – people talk about 10 years undefeated and blah,blah, blah but after 2005, who did he fight? He fought cans. He declined to fight me on two occasions, in 2009 and 2010.”
“The other thing is that he never tested himself in the UFC. That’s something that bothers me. He should have done that. He should have went to the UFC and went to that mix. There’s always gonna be that little thing over his career.”
What do you think of these comments from Alistair Overeem?
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 7/3/2017.