For any fan of Mixed Martial Arts over the last 5 years, there has always been one question that burned us: When will Fedor make it to the UFC? Since he started his dominant run in Pride, it was always assumed that he would eventually make his way to the rapidly growing UFC. The possibilities were so endless that a permanent smile would embed itself on the face of UFC fans worldwide. But much to the chagrin of us all it never happened.
We all know today why it didn’t happen but at the time we laid the blame at the doorstep of UFC President Dana White. For years White promised to make it happen to no avail and this brought on a fire storm of criticism. If there is one thing Dana is known for, it’s his no-holds-barred comments. One day he would come out and say they were at the negotiating table and the next day’s comments would suggest a falling out. We had seen this before as fans, boxing promoters had conditioned us to false promises and Dana White was no different. Or so we thought.
What wasn’t known then were the ridiculous guarantees and co-promotion events that M-1 Global wanted in Fedor’s contract. We know that the UFC wanted his talents, it is well known that there were at least 2 major negotiations, but not at the expense of allowing another promotion to piggy-back its way off of what had already been built by White & Co. Even though the blame started with Dana, in the last few years as we have seen Strikeforce/M-1 co-promotions and the numerous fights turned down that have been offered, the blame lays solely at M-1’s feet.
While we can sit and get heated at the bureaucratic nonsense coming from M-1, I would rather pretend they didn’t exist and imagine the greatest Heavyweight of all time in the UFC, in his prime. There is no doubt that between 2005-2009 Fedor would’ve been in the top 5 HW’s consistently and probably held the belt at least once. So who would he have faced?
That’s an impressive list of heavyweights and a much tougher road than he has taken. I have no doubt that the Fedor of 05-09 would have won almost all of those matches, but I also believe he would’ve lost one as well. One thing is for certain, the PPV numbers for Fedor/Lesnar, Fedor/Cain, etc. would’ve have broken a lot of records and made millions for the parties involved.
But as is life, father time has caught up with Fedor Emelianenko. He has lost a step and his greatest days are now a thing of the past. His highlight reel is unmatched, his record is legendary. But what will also be remembered is his unwillingness to fight in the biggest organization in the world. No matter what happened in his past, he will forever be remembered as a fighter who ducked fights and was scared to fight the best. It is unfortunate that the greatest fighter of our time, a man that his peers consider to be an incredibly nice and respectful person, has allowed himself to be represented by a corrupt organization that has ruined his reputation.
I also want to thank Dana White for his willingness to put everything except for his company on the line to get Fedor to the UFC. We know it was difficult to get people on your side in the UFC/Fedor negotiations, but we as fight fans now understand why it didn’t happen. It’s one more reason that the UFC is, and always will be, the greatest fight organization in the world.