A lot of people cheered when Fabricio Werdum handed Fedor Emelianenko his first legitimate loss. Others were heartbroken. And then there were those who realized the biggest fight the sport had ever seen just went down the drain. You may have guessed Dana White fell in that first category, but not so much. Apparently, it was more the third. Dana told a crowd of British fans earlier today at a fan club Q&A that he really wanted to book Fedor Emelianenko vs. Brock Lesnar when Fedor was still considered the king of the heavyweight division.
“A lot of people were saying that, ‘you must have been happy when Fedor (lost).’ To be honest with you, I’m as much of a fight fan as all you guys are. You hear me talk about Fedor. I flew to crazy places, made him a very respectable offer to come in and fight. I would have loved to have done him and Brock Lesnar or whoever. I tried to make that fight happen, and they know it, whether they say it or not.
“They know what I did, they know where I went, they know what I offered, and they still didn’t take the fight. It takes two to make a deal.”
“I told them, ‘you’re one punch away from being worth zero or half of what you’re worth.’ I bet they wish they took it now.”
Fedor vs. Lesnar may not be quite as big of a fight as it once was, but that doesn’t mean Dana White has lost all interest in the Russian. As he told the crowd, “the thing with Fedor is I never say never.”
Dana also expressed interest in that other heavyweight making major waves outside the UFC — Alistair Overeem. While he sounds interested enough to sign him if he was available, the problem is the UFC wouldn’t allow him to compete in K-1 like Strikeforce does. He points to the inactivity in Strikeforce’s heavyweight division as a reason for their exclusive policy.
“Obviously one of the top heavyweights is Fedor, and I would say Overeem, too, and I like Overeem. I’ve always had a good relationship with him. It’s hard to tell outside, and what a lot of people get caught up in is ‘oh this guy’s out there.’ What you have to realize is the guys that fight in the UFC fight the very best in the world three times a year,” White explained.
“I think anybody’s a possibility. He’s supposed to be their champion. They’ve had a hard time getting him to fight. Did you ever notice these guys at Strikeforce have a hard time getting their people to come in and actually fight. If that was the case, you guys would never see the fights that you want to see. Especially with as many fights as we’re doing, when we sign a guy we want him to fight three times in a year. How the hell is he going to fight somewhere else? It’s impossible.”
With Overeem’s commitments to K-1 and his title as Strikeforce’s heavyweight champion, it seems doubtful we’ll see him in the UFC anytime soon. As for Fedor, well Dana also mentioned the two sides are past the co-promotion thing, so maybe one day they’ll finally agree on a deal. I’m not holding my breath, but there will always be that small part of me that holds out hope. Never say never, right?