So long to this man?
This has been a bizarre week in MMA. Ignoring the controversial Clay Guida vs. Gray Maynard main event from UFC on FX 4 last night, we've got two UFC events in one weekend, including a TUF finale that is masquerading as a pay per view. Oh, and the greatest heavyweight in the history of the sport retired following his win Thursday against the shell of Pedro Rizzo.
With the possible specter of tonight's fight against Rich Franklin being his swan song, how do we look back at Wanderlei Silva and if we had a choice, when would we have wanted him to hang it up? Do we want him to hang it up? This question actually makes for great bull sessions over some booze with friends, as you try and figure out what people in entertainment and athletics would we say... go back in time to murder with a shovel before they killed their legacy?
Before we get into the Ax Murderer, I'll continue this good drinking game with possibly the easiest fish in a barrel ever. George Lucas. If you and your shovel made it back into say... 1993 just after the Young Indiana Jones Chronicles and you could end Lucas, imagine how he'd be perceived now? You could legitimately say "after Return of the Jedi", but it didn't really go completely south until much later. Lucas would have been the beloved creator of two of the most iconic series in all of films (Star Wars and Indiana Jones), and no one would remember him as the leech that has milked those two series for every penny humanly possible and then some. We would never have had to suffer the absolutely terrible episodes 1-3, and the world's perception of Lucas is forever changed.
So anyway, how do we look at Fedor now? Just a few lines ago, I stated greatest heavyweight ever, and I believe that, but I also know that his place is a tenuous one. If Junior Dos Santos beats Cain Velasquez in a rematch,Alistair Overeem and Daniel Cormier, are we not going to start putting Cigano in the same breath as the Last Emperor? What if it's Cain or Cormier that makes a huge run? Fedor's... unfortunate? Tragic? Three-fight losing streak followed by his run of facing fighters who might not even be top100 heavyweights means that he doesn't have a stranglehold on that claim.
In a way, that might end up being a good thing for the sport as a whole, because it makes for debate and conversation. In boxing for example, if you asked five different people who the best heavyweight of all time was, you might get five different answers. Rocky Marciano, Jack Dempsey, Muhammad Ali, Joe Louis, Gene Tunney and Jack Johnson are all reasonable answers. I would say "most" go with Rocky, since he's the only HW to retire undefeated at 49-0, but like Fedor, there are questions about quality of competition.
But wouldn't it have been nice (if you're a fan of Fedor, that is) if he'd called it after Andrei Arlovski or Brett Rogers? 31 wins and 1 mostly nonsense loss? It would've made for that great legend all of us would've loved to gripe about as we got older. Instead we're looking at half a dozen current fighters right now as legitimate successors to that fictional crown.
Check out the rest, and vote on the poll over at Gals Guide