Fedor Emelianenko will always be the one who got away from the UFC. How could the Last Emperor continually turn down millions of dollars from the UFC? According to Fedor it was one man, ironically the same man who wanted him that kept him away.
“In my opinion, everything was in Dana White’s hands,’ says Emelianenko. “Because at that moment, I just felt like ‘this guy, he just hates us.’ Like, personally to [me]. There were insults coming from Dana White all the time. There were many very loud things said, but for real nothing happened. It was [all talk].”
Dana White, the same man who was negotiating with Fedor was the reason Fedor stayed away. I always wondered why Dana would mock Fedor and insult his management team repeatedly in public while trying to make a deal at the same time. It never made sense to me and it obviously never made sense to Fedor. Dana has done a lot of great things for the UFC but his influence in keeping Fedor out has to be one of his biggest fails.
This has always been one of my problems with Dana and I am not the only one. I remember having a conversation once with one of the most successful promoters in pro wrestling history about Dana. He told me that he could never understand why White would bash his own talent while trying to promote them at the same time. I remember having that exact same conversation with Tito Ortiz who was constantly being trashed by White at the time…while in the UFC.
I would say that Dana’s inability to sign Fedor is right up there with the biggest fails in UFC history. Dana has always claimed that it was M-1’s instance at co-promoting that kept deals from being done. I do believe there is a lot of truth to that. Yet at the end of the day the bottom line here is that you had the biggest MMA company in the world unable to sign the biggest free agent in the sport on multiple occasions.
The UFC president made a shocking revelation a year ago about his last attempt to sign Fedor. According to White he had Fedor vs. Brock Lesnar signed and ready to go until Fedor’s father passed away. White also praised Fedor publicly for the first time that I can ever remember.
“Fedor is one of the greatest heavyweights ever. Greatest MMA fighters of all time? You’re out of your minds” A nice compliment but a little too late according to the former Pride champion.
Fedor vs. Cain anyone? Yes please.