After failing to sign Fedor Emelianenko last year, due to Emelianenko’s unwillingness to fight under what he termed an “oppressive contract”, UFC president Dana White seems to have been on a mission to discredit Emelianenko’s abilities.
White often referred to the popular Russian fighter as overrated and his managers as “crazy Russians”. Emelianenko took the high road telling Fightline.com exclusively that he simply could not sign the contract that the UFC offered and that White behaved tactlessly during negotiations.
“I saw the contract they offered me and we knew we couldn’t sign it,” Emelianenko told Fightline.com. “It was one-way negotiations. We tried to contact him to talk about things but he behaved in a very tactless manner. That’s the point when the negotiations are over. Since then I read everywhere on internet or in magazines how he tries to insult me saying improper things about us.”
Today, after Emelianenko completely annihilated former UFC heavyweight champion Tim Sylvia, White appears to have had a change of heart, at least when it comes to Emelianenko’s abilities.
“It does (change my opinion),” White told Kevin Iole. “Tim Sylvia was a real opponent.”
When asked if Emelianenko’s performance changed his mind about Anderson Silva being the worlds best pound-for-pound fighter however, White was unflinching.
“Not at all,” White said, beaming. “Do you even need to ask me after (Silva’s performance)?”
White may be convinced of Silva’s place in the pound-for-pound rankings, but after last night’s thrilling and dominant performances by both Silva and Emelianenko, debate among fans and bloggers has just begun.