Fedor Emelianenko skipped voluntary hospital visit after Silva loss
Despite initial reports, Fedor Emelianenko did not visit a hospital or seek additional medical attention before his leaving the U.S. on Monday evening after his second-round defeat against Antonio Silva on Saturday at Strikeforce “Fedor vs. Silva” at the Izod Center in East Rutherford, N.J.
The 34-year-old Russian fighting legend, who sustained massive facial trauma and a possible orbital fracture during the quarterfinal bout of the promotion’s heavyweight world grand prix, also turned down requests to voluntarily visit a physician’s office Monday despite requests from Strikeforce officials and others, according to two sources with knowledge of the situation who are not authorized to speak publicly about it. Sources said Emelianenko opted to forgo additional precautions because “he just wanted to go home.”
In the past, fighters who have incurred orbital fractures have been required by medical personnel not to travel by air for up to a week. Both Randy Couture and Josh Koscheck were grounded for this reason following their UFC championship bouts in September 2002 and December 2010.
The extent of Emelianenko’s eye injury is unknown at this time, though it can be ascertained that the veteran fighter will most likely seek any additional required medical assessment in his home country and submit the necessary follow-up forms to the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board to clear his status for future bouts. Emelianenko and the bulk of his management team landed in Russia on Tuesday.
Evgeni Kogan, director of operations for M-1 Global, the organization that manages Emelianenko, said that backstage physicians told the fighter late Saturday that they believed there was only a 10% chance that his orbital bone had been broken during the contest.
After spending a majority of the second round underneath the 50-pounds-heavier Silva and withstanding a barrage of his punches, Emelianenko’s right eye swelled shut during the one-minute rest period between the second and third rounds, prompting four in-cage physicians to jointly halt the bout.
The fighters had each taken a round on the judges’ score sheets up to that point, though Silva led every card on points. Judges Douglas Crosby and Dave Tirelli scored the first round 10-9 in Emelianenko’s favor and awarded Silva a 10-8 tally for his dominant second round. Judge Cardo Orso gave Silva both rounds with 10-9 scores.
On Sunday, the NJSACB suspended the former Pride Fighting Championships titleholder for 90 days for the head strikes, as well as for an unspecified suspension time “pending (a) CT scan of head and facial bones.”
NJSACB counsel Nick Lembo said Tuesday that he couldn’t discuss Emelianenko’s medical status beyond the suspension announcement.
When asked, Lembo said the standard protocol in such a situation entailed the fighter, his manager and an attending physician signing a “recommendation form” after an initial backstage examination.
Lembo said the physician’s recommendation could ask the fighter to seek additional medical attention and/or test results “immediately, in 12-24 hours, within 7 days, within 30 days, or within 10 days prior to his next fight.”
The regulatory rep said he couldn’t disclose what time recommendation Emelianenko had been given.
Lembo said that there have been fighters, under the doctor’s recommendation, who have been required to seek additional medical attention immediately following bouts.
“If do we require a fighter to go to the hospital and they refuse, we can suspend them for a year and have done so in the past,” said Lembo.
Lembo said two physicians examined Emelianenko backstage after the bout before handing the fighter and his management a signed copy with their recommendations for follow-up treatment.
Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker had initially told the media that Emelianenko left for the hospital after the bout, but was informed later of the fighter’s decision to return to his hotel instead, according to media relations director Mike Afromowitz.
On Tuesday, M-1 Global’s Kogan said he had no additional information regarding Emelianenko’s health status, other than that he had landed safely in Russia and was heading back to his hometown.
-- Loretta Hunt
Photo: A battered Fedor Emelianenko after his fight on Saturday. Credit: Gregory Payan, Associated Press.