With only one MMA fight to his name, Greco-Roman wrestling gold medalist Rulon Gardner (1-0) says that at one time Pride wanted him to fight Fedor Emelianenko (34-4-1 NC).
“They wanted me to jump in there with Fedor,” said Gardner. “They offered me a substantial amount of money and loved the idea of sambo and wrestling. You have two of the classic styles of wrestling.”
Gardner wouldn’t give the exact amount he was offered for the fight, but said it was in the seven figure range.
“They wanted us to go at it, but I had other aspirations that I wanted to get into,” said Gardner. “I didn’t look at my career as just being about money. I looked at it as doing the right thing, being smart and enjoying the journey. Right at that time, it just didn’t feel right to jump back in and fight.”
Gardner only fight was a victory at the end of 2004 and Emelianenko retired in 2012.