Fedor retires – the strongest man in history

A few weekends ago, Fedor Emelianenko retired from the sport of Mixed Martial Arts with little fanfare or media coverage. On the one hand, I understand that Fedor was past his prime and had found himself eclipsed by the talents of an upstart generation. Yet the fact remains that for over a decade, Fedor was undefeated as the greatest fighter in the world.

That means something to me. But why, you ask? Well allow me to explain…

My friends often ask me why I’m so interested in Mixed Martial Arts. And invariably, I answer it’s because the competition of fighting is ingrained within our genetics. This is because long before humankind ever learned to write or even use tools, thousands upon thousands of generations of our ancestors lived and died as fighters.

I can only imagine the struggle of their daily lives, living rough in the wilds. Yet one thing I can be certain of is the violence of their daily lives; the absolute necessity for our ancestors to fight other animals or one another. The battle for supremacy would not have just been a battle for pride. Rather, it was a Darwinist battle for survival, where the victor would live and the defeated would die.

Fast forward 200,000 years and in modern civilisation we find that recorded history spans approximately six thousand years. Yet of those six thousand years, only a portion contains generations of people who have lived peaceful unmarked by violence. Think of the great empires in history such as the Roman Empire, the Yuan Dynasty or even the British Empire; they were all societies with an embedded sense of bloodshed and conflict.

Suffice to say, it is only in very modern history whereby physical conflict is not the norm. Our thousands of ancestors before us lived violence as part of their daily lives, and it would be difficult to say that it hasn’t had an impact on our inner desires and subconscious thoughts. But instead of entirely suppressing our natural inclination for physical combat, there are other ways of expressing it. That is, competitive fight sports and specifically the sport of Mixed Martial Arts.

So if you realise that the sport of Mixed Martial Arts is society’s new way of expressing our natural desire to fight, then it gives importance to the champions. The champions are not just merely top level fighters, but the finest real life incarnations of our natural desire to fight. Thus a fighter is able to transcend their mortality and become the embodiment of an ideal.

And that is what Fedor means to me. He was the greatest fighter in history and thus the pinnacle of an innate human aspect. And so despite the lack of public interest, I felt that Fedor’s retirement was the end of an important age in human history.

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