The Dana White and Fedor Emelianenko soap opera has taken an interesting twist. The UFC president told MMA Fanhouse that he is “obsessed” with signing Fedor Emelianenko. White also dropped a bombshell noting that he has recently talked to Fedor’s management team and hinted that he may not be under contract to Strikeforce.
This has the potential be huge news in the MMA world. It was almost a year ago that Affliction went out of business and Dana White boldly stated that he would sign Fedor Emelianenko to a UFC contract. A few weeks later Fedor Emelianenko and his M1 Global team shockingly announced a deal with Strikeforce. Dana went nuts and bashed both Fedor and M1 for the failed negotiations. Is the new Dana White we see a kinder more gentle Dana White or is there something big about to happen?
It isn’t necessarily the fact that Dana White wants Fedor Emelianenko in the UFC that is newsworthy. It is what he said or didn’t say about Fedor’s contract status with Strikeforce. Dana White said that he has talked to Fedor, “more recently than you think.” Dana was then asked whether that was contract tampering. White responded that he would never and has never negotiated with anyone under contract. White was then asked whether this means that Fedor Emelianenko is not under contract and White just smiled and repeated that he would never negotiate with anyone under contract.
[adinserter block=”1″]Before I get too excited about this news, I will keep in mind that this is Dana White. Dana has become somewhat obsessed Fedor, yet even more so with CBS/Showtime. Dana White could be playing mind games here playing off of recent reports of a contract impasse with Fedor Emelianenko, M1 Global, and Strikeforce. On the other hand, why Dana White would say anything remotely complimentary about a guy he has bashed for repeatedly for almost a year and refers to M1 Global as “crazy Russians,” makes me wonder whether White is a master manipulator or if there really is something here to get excited about.
Like many, I was stunned when Fedor Emelianenko turned down an estimated $30 million deal last year with the UFC to sign with Strikeforce for less money and lesser competition. I took this as a sign that Fedor was more interested in keeping his legacy intact rather than becoming $30 million richer. The idea that Fedor Emelianenko would now be faced with guys like Brock Lesnar, Frank Mir, Cain Velasquez, and even Shane Carwin isn’t as appealing as fighting Brett Rogers and Alistair Overeem if your main objective is to protect your legacy. Until Fedor Emelianenko is signed to a UFC deal, I still believe that the fear of competition is what is keeping Fedor from stepping into a caged octagon.
[adinserter block=”2″]Fedor Emelianenko’s run with Strikeforce should be a cautionary tale for the UFC and I am sure it is. One fight into a three fight deal, Fedor and M1 Global have been holding out for a new deal. Quite possibly, Strikeforce has quietly allowed Fedor to negotiate with the UFC during this impasse. As bad as this is turning out to be for Strikeforce, could you imagine the kind of power that Fedor and M1 would have if they come to the UFC and Fedor wins the UFC heavyweight title? Quite frankly as a longtime Fedor Emelianenko fan, I have lost a lot of respect for him over the last year as a fighter and a businessman.
So here we go again. It is quite possible that Fedor Emelianenko could be walking out as a mystery surprise at an upcoming UFC event. Dana White has gone on record saying that he would put Fedor Emelianenko immediately into a UFC heavyweight title match upon his arrival. Brock Lesnar is already penciled in for a July fight against Shane Carwin. So if this is the case, the earliest we would probably see Fedor Emelianenko fight in the UFC would be late September, early October.
At this point, it would be well worth the wait!
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