It remains unlikely as ever that heavyweight legend Fedor Emelianenko will ever see action inside the Octagon, especially in light of the Russian’s recent retirement from MMA. However, while such news brings frowns to the faces of many fans, it also appears not being able to work out the particulars with Emelianenko is one of UFC President Dana White’s rare regrets.
White went after Emelianenko in 2009 before “The Last Emperor” eventually signed with Strikeforce, nearly putting together a deal seeing the PRIDE icon face former heavyweight champion Brock Lesnar under the UFC banner. Unfortunately, according to White, Emelianenko’s management rejected an extremely lucrative offer in favor of a bit more freedom as well as influence on the product.
“Obviously, I would have loved to make that fight with him and Brock at that point in time. It would have been awesome. But it obviously didn’t happen,” said White in an interview with MMAJunkie, adding that he harbors no ill will towards Emelianenko as opposed to the people who pull his strings.
“I have nothing against Fedor whatsoever. He’s definitely got some hardcore fans, man. I mean the guy can get knocked out four times in a row, and they still think he’s the f*cking greatest ever,” explained White. “I don’t hate the guy. There’s definitely no hate at all for Fedor. It was always his management. Anytime you ever heard me talk, it was about ‘Vadummy’ (Vadim Finkelstein) or the guys who managed his career.”
The 35-year old Emelianenko hung up his gloves after knocking Pedro Rizzo. The win improved his overall record to 34-4 and was his 26th career stoppage.
PHOTO CREDIT – TRIUMPH UNITED/STRIKEFORCE