We did some reaching around prior to Bellator 290, where Fedor Emelianenko retired, to collect some words from his peers in an effort to give the legend the send-off he deserves.
Another such legend was kind enough to give us a few statements about his former foe. That legend is Mark Coleman, the first-ever UFC Heavyweight champion.
Mark Coleman is the former UFC Heavyweight champ and UFC Hall of Famer. His legacy as one of the sport's all-time greats is as vast as his influence as one of the most important pioneers of MMA and the UFC.
His UFC debut came on July 12th, 1996, at UFC 10: The Tournament, where he fought three times in one night to capture his first taste at gold. Two wins and six on this later, he fought Don Frye for the official UFC Heavyweight championship of the world. He won via neck crank and became the first-ever UFC Heavyweight champion.
Twice would he fight Fedor Emelianenko in his career. 'The Last Emperor' defeated Coleman on both occasions and showed as much kindness in victory as Coleman showed grace in defeat.
Coleman brought his daughters into the ring after they competed, and Fedor helped to show them their dad was okay.
Both fighters are among a short list of people that shaped MMA into what it is today, and as Fedor joins Coleman in retirement, the MMA Community wishes him the best.