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Dana White Describes Meeting With Fedor Emelianenko For The First Time

The biggest potential fight in MMA history fell apart this year. The dream fight for MMA fans the world over has been a match-up between Brock Lesnar and Fedor Emelianenko. The UFC tried to make the bout happen last year, however negotiations with Emelianenko’s camp fell apart and the Russian heavyweight signed with Strikeforce.

Since the signing, Emelianenko suffered his first true career loss (he has one other controversial loss due to a cut from an illegal elbow) to Fabricio Werdum earlier this summer, while Lesnar was dominated by Cain Velasquez at UFC 121 last week. While a bout between the two would still do huge business, it has certainly lost its luster.

UFC President Dana White recently admitted at the UFC 121 pre-fight Q&A that he had only recently met face-to-face with Emelianenko for the first time, despite trying for years to sign him. Emelianenko only has one fight left on his Strikeforce deal, and White once again attempted to bring the former PRIDE champion under the UFC umbrella.

“I jumped on a plane and flew to some crazy island out in the middle of nowhere that, believe me, I did not want to go, sat down in a room with these guys and tried to hammer out a deal,” said White. “It was a very, very respectful deal. Believe me when I tell you I tried to make this happen, and they know I did. They know I tried to make this fight happen and they didn’t take it. It was insane that they did not take this deal.

“He [Emelianenko] was there. It was the first time he and I had ever met face-to-face, and he we sat down, we hammered back and forth in this room for hours.”

Stories of Fedor signing with the UFC have been like Groundhog Day, with White being confident in signing the phenom, only for negotiations to fall apart due to Emelianenko’s promotional company, M-1 Global, wanting to co-promote with the organization. As expected, the same thing happened this time around.

“I know I always look like the bad guy,” White admitted. “I have to run a business, but believe me when I tell ya, he had a damn good offer… It takes two to make a deal. These guys didn’t want to make a deal.”

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