UFC president Dana White is known for being brash, vocal and straightforward and there are few topics which he has displayed that quality more during discourse than of Russian MMA legend Fedor Emelianenko.
The UFC have failed to come to terms with Emelianenko and his management team M-1 Global on more than one occasion, and White has loudly decried them as a result. The Boston native has also maintained his opinion that Emelianenko cannot be considered one of the current best competitors in the sport when one considers the level of competition he has faced since the PRIDE fighting promotion–where Emelianenko built his legacy–was dissolved.
“The Last Emperor” recently picked up his second loss in a row–also only the second legitimate defeat of his career–when he lost to Antonio Silva via doctor stoppage in the opening round of the Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix. White drew criticism for engaging Fedor fans in a bitter quarrel on Twitter following the Russian’s loss but has said little else on the subject since it occurred. MMAFighting.com’s Ariel Helwani spoke with White in Australia prior to UFC 127 about Emelianenko’s loss and the likelihood that fans will ever see him in the UFC.
“I’ve been saying it for a long time. I’ve had all these goofy reporters arguing with me and everything else about where this guys stands on the pound for pound list. His fans just need to deal with it. Deal with the fact that he’s not one of the best in the world. It’s over,” said White. “And as great as this guy was, it’s what I was saying, all that was back in 2005. It’s not 2005 anymore. Guy’s been inactive, hasn’t fought anybody good in a long time, and he looks old and it’s over. It is what it is.”
It has been widely alleged that M-1 Global have done more to hinder Emelianenko’s career than to progress it and the company has earned quite the negative reputation in the MMA world. White points to their eccentric business practices as being the main reason why Fedor is not currently and will likely never be in the UFC.
“The biggest problem is–what all of you can’t seem to understand and I don’t know what it is–if I acted like these idiots act, Vadim (Finkelstein) and these guys–you can’t do business with these people. You just can’t do business with them,” said White. “And they’ve made it very clear–even before (Fedor) got beat up twice–that they don’t want to fight the guys in the UFC.… You saw what happened to him the last two fights, why would you want to come in here and fight these heavyweights when you can go over there and make a couple million bucks getting beat up by guys that aren’t that good.”