Fedor Emelianenko still has will to fight
Emelianenko, 34, expressed his desire to continue fighting on Tuesday, his promoter, M-1 Global, confirmed to ESPN.com.
"I rushed to declare my retirement," Emelianenko told media in Moscow, according to translated reports. "I am capable of having a few more fights."
Moments after a New Jersey State Athletic Control Board-licensed doctor stopped the bout between the second and third periods due to severe damage around Emelianenko's right eye, the former Pride heavyweight champion declared it might be time to retire.
Members of his camp suggested the best heavyweight of the last decade could take up to two weeks to determine the fate of his career -- apparently he needed just two days.
Evgeni Kogan, head of global operations for M-1, of which Emelianenko holds an ownership stake, "seriously doubted" reports that the heavyweight would attempt to win his sixth World Combat Sambo Championships title Feb. 25 in St. Petersburg. Reports in Russian media suggested Emelianenko would make a quick turnaround despite the pummeling he suffered against Silva.
"He is very keen to fight again though," Kogan said.
Emelianenko (31-3) remains under contract to Strikeforce for three bouts after signing an extension earlier this year. Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker said if Emelianenko remained active, a bout against the loser of April 9's Strikeforce Heavyweight World Grand Prix quarterfinal between Fabricio Werdum and Alistair Overeem would likely come next. Coker also suggested that Emelianenko is eligible to return to the tournament as an alternate.
Reports following Saturday's card indicated Emelianenko suffered a broken orbital bone and required hospitalization. Neither is true, several sources close to the fighter said.
Emelianenko's bout against Silva (16-2), which headlined the first leg of Strikeforce's single-elimination eight-fighter tournament in front of a crowd of 11,287 at the IZOD Center in East Rutherford, N.J., established a record for viewership of mixed martial arts on Showtime. The average audience -- 741,000, with a peak rating of 1.1 million during the main event -- bested an August 2009 card featuring Gina Carano and Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos by more than 20 percent.
Josh Gross covers mixed martial arts for ESPN.com.
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