A superfight pitting Brock Lesnar and Fedor Emelianenko never came to fruition, but it was closer than most thought. UFC president Dana White said less than a year ago, the fight seemed like a reality until Emelianenko’s father passed away.
“We were negotiating for months and then after his dad died and he said ‘that’s it, I’m done’ or whatever, and then Brock said ‘I’m done, too,’” said White during the UFC on FOX post-fight media scrum.
Lesnar, who was in attendance at UFC 146, told White he was interested in coming out of retirement for a chance to fight the former PRIDE champion.
White had spoken about a huge show at Cowboys Stadium and planned to have Emelianenko vs. Lesnar headline. The death in Emelianenko’s family crumbled any hope of creating that much talked about fight.
After Emelianenko lost three straight out of Strikeforce, he secured three wins overseas. His retirement bout was a win over UFC heavyweight contender Pedro Rizzo for M-1 in June 2012. Emelianenko officially retired following that win as he wanted to spend more time with his family.
Lesnar, a former UFC heavyweight champion, retired after dropping two in a row under the promotion’s name. He has since returned to professional wrestling for the WWE.
“We were right there,” said White. “When I was talking about doing that big Dallas Texas Stadium show it was going to be Brock Lesnar vs. [Fedor Emelianenko].”
White continued that he doesn’t see Emelianenko or Lesnar coming out of retirement.