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.