With all the mainstream media hype starting build up around UFC 100, you had to figure someone would eventually say, “Hey, what about that Russian guy, Fedor, all the diehard fans keep talking about? Why isn’t he in the UFC?”
Well, the question has been asked, but I never would have guessed from who…Time Magazine, of all media outlets.
Imagine a pro quarterback with Peyton Manning’s talent, playing up north in the CFL instead of the NFL. Or picture Tiger Woods shunning the PGA and all the major championships to star in the second-string Nationwide Tour. It may sound ridiculous, but the fast-growing, wildly popular sport of mixed martial arts (MMA) is grappling with such an unthinkable, uncomfortable scenario.
The Time piece actually answers why Fedor is currently secluded in Russia preparing for his upcoming Affliction bout against Josh Barnett instead of hanging out with everyone else at the UFC Fan Expo. It’s nothing we don’t already know—Fedor won’t agree to a one-sided contract, wants his freedom to compete in Combat Sambo tournaments, and doesn’t like his contract automatically extending while he beats down the UFC’s heavyweights.
It’s gets a little more interesting though when they ask Dana White for his thoughts, who apparently ratchets up his anti-Fedor talk when speaking to the big boys.
“Let me put it to you this way, I’ve done fight contracts with all the best fighters in the world. With big huge superstars, Brock Lesnar, Chuck Liddell, the list goes on and on. Who the f— is Fedor? Are you serious? The guys who fight for me have a chance to make a lot more money fighting with me than with anybody else. If he signed with us, he’d find his place in history, find out if he really is the best heavyweight in the world. It’s all semantics. It’s all bulls—…Fedor doesn’t make or break my business one way or the other, you know what I mean? The reality is, I don’t need Fedor.”
And sadly, that’s the reality of the situation. The UFC doesn’t need Fedor, and Fedor doesn’t need the UFC. So unless one of them does in the future, we’ll be spending the next five or so years talking about it instead of actually seeing it.
But, it is nice to see someone talking about it outside the MMA blogosphere and message boards. Hopefully, if enough fans demand it one day, the UFC’s want will turn into need.
HT: MMA Fanhouse