’s 2016 Robbery of the Year

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In a year that saw Russia admit to an institutional conspiracy to juice up their Olympic athletes and the FBI and CIA conclude that it interfered in the United States presidential election, it seems only fitting that Sherdog’s “Robbery of the Year” took place in the Land of Putin. Japan, the United States, Brazil and a host of other countries produce questionable decisions from time to time, but we are all rank amateurs compared to Russia when it comes to delivering a true world-class robbery. Fabio Maldonado-Fedor Emelianenko at Eurasia Fighting Nights 50 on June 17 was such an over-the-top travesty against justice that for many it crossed over from outrage into comic farce, more fun Cold War flashback than affront to general fairness.Going into Emelianenko’s fight against Maldonado, there probably was not a lot of discussion about how to make sure “The Last Emperor” won. After all, the matchmaking itself was designed to assure that goal. Maldonado was a 36-year-old fighter from a lower weight class who had lost three of his last four. He was picked specifically because he was unlikely to present too much difficulty for the legendary Emelianenko. It is thus impressive how quickly the judges and referee in St. Petersburg swung into action when Maldonado began to batter Emelianenko in Round 1. In a lot of fights, a referee will mean the difference between victory and defeat. The decision to stop a fight or let it go on is crucial in a sport where there are so many ways to win and the tide can turn quickly. In many other fights, judges will play the deciding role. They after all have the final say in any decision, and their views do not always sync …

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