Los Angeles, California. – Despite all the talk of Fedor Emelianenko’s retirement fight at Bellator 290 tomorrow night (Saturday, Feb. 4, 2023), the other half of the headlining fight, Ryan Bader – the current heavyweight champion of the organization – is somewhat ignored this week.
But, “Darth” has no problem with Emelianenko monopolizing all the mixed martial arts (MMA) media spotlight this week. He understands the magnitude of the moment. And if he wasn’t the one stepping into the cage with the Russian legend, he would also be encouraging him to come out on top.
“No, he deserves it – he’s a sports legend,” Bader said at a recent press conference (highlights). “I respect this man, and he’s a good human being. Don’t get me wrong, I know stepping into this I would be doing the same thing. If I watch Fedor’s last fight, I encourage him. I love doing that – I love seeing these legends take over.
This is why Bader is in a tough spot as he would love nothing more than to see ‘The Last Emperor’ come out with a win in any other circumstance, but he has to do everything in his power to keep his belt.
“I know people are going to support him,” Bader said. “But, on the other hand, I have a job to do and my job is to go out there, ruin this party, go out there and do what I came here to do, keep this belt, win this fight and move on. All the best. There will be respect no matter what.
“Me doing my job and winning, you know, I’m the bad guy taking that away from him,” Bader added. “But, I’m in this position, like, what am I going to do? Go ahead and bend for him? I have to do my job. I respect this guy a lot, what he’s done in this sport, also as a person. But I have a job to do at the end of the day.
Nothing personal, just business.
With another victory, Bader will go up 2-0 on “The Last Emperor” and earn his third title defense. And if that means fight fans might be mad at him for a little while, so be it.
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