It didn’t take long for the name Fedor Emelianenko to come up in UFC president Dana White’s Metro PCS fan chat. White was asked about bringing the retired MMA legend to the UFC and his answer may surprise you.
White has dropped Fedor’s name a few times lately. Specifically, White has been coy when asked about signing a Brock Lesnar vs. Fedor Emelianenko fight. Signing the fight seemed like a dumb question when asked, which is why it surprised me that he even entertained the question recently. Was White just having fun with the media or did he have something up his sleeve? Apparently he had something up his sleeve and he laid all of his cards on the table in the chat.
White revealed in the chat that he recently tried to sign the Last Emperor. White said that Fedor is “positively retired” and won’t be coming in. White then said what may be the the most complimentary thing he has ever said about the Russian star.
“Fedor is one of the greatest heavyweights ever. Greatest MMA fighters of all time? You’re out of your minds”
Hey, that is high praise from White who has mocked Fedor for the last several years. Take it while you can get it.
I think this is a big story. The biggest obstacle to Fedor coming to the UFC has been his management, M1 Global. Their demands for co-promotional rights have driven White crazy for years during negotiations. White, like many MMA fans probably thought he had his best shot of signing Fedor with M1 theoretically out of the picture. Unfortunately the timing just wasn’t there.
This revelation also comes a week after White revealed a recent telephone conversation he had with former UFC champion Brock Lesnar in which Lesnar also told White that he is retired for good. Maybe White really was trying to pull off that elusive Lesnar vs. Fedor fight after all? One would have to presume that it was certainly on the table in the UFC offices.
Signing Fedor to the UFC in 2012 would have been an interesting move to say the least. The heavyweight division is thin on elite stars, although it is probably deeper in general than it has ever been. Dana has said that Fedor would get an immediate UFC heavyweight title shot when he came in, but that was also back in 2009. My hunch is that he probably would have came in and fought the Cain vs. JDS loser if Lesnar was really out.