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Saturday, November 5, 2011
Breakfast with Emelianenko or snooze?

By Chuck Mindenhall

Fedor Emelianenko
Snap out of it: Would you rather catch a few winks or watch Fedor try to get back to his winning ways?
On Nov. 20, Fedor Emelianenko will fight Jeff Monson. If you’re at the Olympic Arena in Moscow, Russia, where the fight is being held, this takes place at a reasonable hour; in the United States, it occurs either during your snooze button moments or in full blast REM sleep, depending on your coast (7:30 a.m. ET/4:30 a.m. PT).

M-1 Global and Integrated Sports Media are euphemistically calling this presentation “Breakfast with Fedor,” and you can order the fight for “only” $29.95. This is a “suggested retail price,” but it’s doubtful there’s much room for haggling.

Either way, Breakfast with the Beatles was always free. And this fight card -- which also features Xavier Foupa-Pokam, the mysterious “Professor X” -- appears to be aimed at two types: Fedor fetishists and vampires with disposable income.

It’s not so much the hour as it is the price to see Fedor try and snap a three-fight losing streak against a 40-year-old anarchist riding a 9-1 run over his last 10 fights. Thirty bucks is a lot to ask to see if that sinking feeling is legit. If you consider Emelianenko one of the greatest fighters of all time, you are not alone; but if you still believe in his ability to get it done, you are the narrowing demographic in play here. You are the turnip out of which blood is being drawn. In that way, you are being punished for caring.

It doesn’t help matters that just hours beforehand Dan Henderson -- Emelianenko’s last opponent -- will have fought Mauricio Rua in a PPV event at UFC 139. He could still be celebrating in the wild streets of San Jose when the M-1 Global card gets rolling. Talk about your divergent courses after the two met in Hoffman Estates back in July.

The difference is, the Hendo/Rua fight will have contention at stake. In the early-bird Emelianenko bout with Monson, it’s something more like nostalgia -- a desperation heave for relevancy with a fat fee. And if that’s how a twilight fighter is being handled in the course of a three-fight losing bender, imagine the next one if he’s on a one-fight winning streak? (Don’t be surprised if M-1 charges for the violin music, should that losing streak be run to four).

Emelianenko is a legend. He will always have appeal as a fighter, based on his demeanor, his style and his legacy. The truth is, if you like MMA, the idea of two heavyweights swinging acrimoniously at each other as the sun comes isn’t going to offend. But, given the context, $30 to watch it might.

And though you’d never want to sleep on a legend like Fedor Emelianenko eking his way back into the picture, this might be the one occasion where it’s just too tempting not to.