The greatest fighter in heavyweight history went down for the third time in a row. It's hard to watch heroes fall, and worse, if it was his last fight, he didn't get to go out on his shield like a true warrior. Instead, referee Herb Dean botched what might be the end of a legendary career. Dean leaped between Fedor Emelianenko and Dan Henderson in the middle of a scramble after Henderson had rocked Fedor with a right uppercut.
Fedor may have been out briefly, but looked coherent and was jockeying for position as Dean stepped in. To make matters worse, the stoppage was prompted by two hard and potentially illegal punches to the back of the head by Henderson. Showtime's announcing team of Mauro Ranallo, Frank Shamrock, and Gus Johnson never once mentioned the questionable legality of the blows, either while waiting what felt like forever for a replay of the finish, or after they were shown in gruesome slow motion.
Emelianenko deserves better. All fighters do, but great champions even more so. If it's time for Fedor to walk away it should be unambiguous. This was far from it. Before the stoppage the two men were battling blow for blow. Who knows what would have happened next? We've certainly seen Fedor come back from the brink of disaster, most notably against Kevin Randleman. We've also seen Henderson have a fighter nearly out, like Jake Shields, only to allow him to come back and win.
I wanted to know which fighter was the better man last night. We never found out. The fans and the fighters both deserve better.