I just got home. I haven't felt this way after a sporting event since 2004. There is a sadness that I feel that maybe you are feeling or maybe you are not. I was worried listening to you talk to Helwani this week about thinking about retirement. I sensed something lacking from you that you always had, a desire to fight. I watched you tonight make mistake after mistake that the old Fedor I knew never would. Maybe it is time that you move on and take your place as the greatest fighter of the last decade. Maybe you simply don't want it anymore and if so I just want to say thank you. You have brought me much joy as an MMA fan could ever ask for. But in the waning seconds of the second round you made a valiant attempt to win the fight. You went for the submission as your eye was closing shut, after you had taken so much punishment. There was still a desire to win. So, now you return to the bitter winter of Stary Oskol. You embrace your family and you hang it up. God bless you. But a day might come when that fire returns. If it does I think you should get out of Russia and train with the best here in the States, Holland, and Brazil. But before you do, please pay a visit to this man.
The word legend is thrown around too much in today's world. But, you are both true legends.I have spent more than a decade closely attached to your careers as a fan. I know your sports are completely different. But, you and Mariano have more alike than you might think. Here is the difference. You dominated for nearly a decade and now you face adversity. It happens to all legends. How they respond is what makes them true legends. You are both men of God, you both pursue excellence. But even the greatest fall from time to time. Mariano in his first year as closer for the Yankees gave up a home run to Sandy Alomar of all people to knock the defending champs out of the playoffs. In 2001, after 9/11, when the whole city, the whole country wanted a Yankee win, he faltered. In 2004 he let slip away a four game sweep of the Red Sox that would lead to the worst collapse in sports history and a huge embarrassment for the franchise. Other closers would never recover. Mariano did the opposite. In 2009 he stood on the mound as a five time world champion and the most dominant closer in post-season history. His competition has over and over again been called his successor. Paplebon was anointed his heir, today he is trade bait. Eric Gagne was supposed to be a successor to his throne. Today he can't get a minor league deal. Raphael Soriano last year was seen as the best and now he is Mo's set up man. Time is a tricky thing, greatness isn't.
You are being written off right now, even by your most ardent of fans. So was he, many more times than you ever have been. There were times mid-season he was actually booed by the fickle Yankee faithful. He suffered many stinging defeats, as you are now. But, today he still stands as the greatest closer of all time and he keeps going. There are few who rival his excellence, even today, even in his forties. Because he forgets and moves on. He has the desire year after year to be a champion. His failures far fail in comparison to his triumphs. He wants it and knows he has it. You have it too. But, if you don't want it anymore we all understand. If you do, whether it is today or a year from now, sit down with this man, listen to how he dealt with failure and put it out like yesterday's garbage to continue to be among the best. Then get your ass in a gym that actually has cage in it and work with a team like Black House or AKA.
Either way, thank you. You are the greatest heavy weight of all time. You have nothing to be ashamed of in retirement. But, if you do come back, like Adrian said in Rocky III, don't do it for the fans, or the money, or the guilt over Vadim's bank account. Do it for you. That is who you would owe it too. God speed.