During a conference call in October of 2007 to promote the signing of heavyweight Brock Lesnar as well as announce the signing of a light heavyweight superfight between Chuck Liddell and Wanderlei Silva at UFC 79, White was quoted as saying that “Fedor Sucks. He’s not even a top five heavyweight.”
However, following first round stoppage wins over former UFC heavyweight champions Tim Sylvia at Affliction’s “Banned” event this past July and Andrei Arlovksi at “Day of Reckoning” last month, White has changed his tune.
“Yes, he’s top five [pound-for-pound],” White is quoted as saying during a post-UFC 94 press conference. “I say he’s top five. He can punch. I’ll say that.”
Despite being negative towards Fedor, White has maintained for quite some time that he’d welcome the Russian heavyweight into the UFC’s heavyweight division. This past weekend was no different but White once again expressed pessimism of being able to bring him into the organization due to concerns about his management.
“When I first met with these guys, I was with them in the U.K.,” said White. “They said to me, ‘Here’s what we want to do. My brother is the biggest rock concert promoter over there so here’s what we want. We want you to build an arena in Russia.’ I said, ‘Time out. I’m not looking to build arenas.'”
There appears to be one specific member of Fedor’s management team that he is most concerned about.
“Their judgment on who they do business with is strange,” he said. “They work with (M-1 USA vice president) Jerry Millen. Does that say enough for you? That sums it up right there.”