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By: Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief
Fedor Emelianenko's legacy may always be talked about with the caveat that he never entered the Octagon. There were a couple of times where the UFC entered into negotiations with him, but for numerous reasons - chiefly the Russian's affiliation with M-1 Global - he never accepted a deal, even when the UFC had a major fight and offer on the table.
The fact that he didn't come into the UFC has led to UFC President Dana White showering him and his management with a number of less-than-flattering adjectives and expletives over the years, but this past weekend White insisted he didn't have anything personal against "The Last Emperor."
"I really don't hate Fedor. His management, these guys made the biggest f*** up in the history of all sports," White explained after UFC 145 (video captured by MMAInterviews.TV). "We flew down there and tried to make Brock Lesnar vs. Fedor and it was for big, big money… They f***ing laughed at it and I told them, and he'll lie if you ask him this, I told him and he knows I f***ing told him, not Fedor, Vadummy, I told Vadummy, 'You're one punch away from being worth zero.'"
Ultimately, Emelianenko opted to go to Strikeforce, where White's premonition came true as Emelianenko lost three straight fights, sending him on the outskirts of the MMA world and fights in Japan and his home country of Russia. White looks at the entire situation as a major missed opportunity for all involved.
"In the fight business, and in life, things shift, things build, and you get the opportunity to do this mega fight," he said. "Everything was in line for Fedor and Brock to fight. It was right there. And you don't laugh at those moments; you seize 'em, you take it. He didn't take it. They thought they were too cool and too slick and too f***ing funny. Like I said, they're not laughing now. Honestly, it's over for him, I don't give a s*** what he's doing."
Penick's Analysis: Fedor vs. Lesnar in 2009 would have been a simply incredible and massive event. After choking out Tim Sylvia and knocking out Andrei Arlovski, Fedor was primed for a incredible payday and a major UFC debut when the third Affliction show fell through. Lesnar had just decimated Frank Mir at UFC 100 in the largest selling pay-per-view in MMA history. As White says here, it was in line, it was there. Unfortunately for fight fans, it's a moment that the two sides were not able to capitalize on, and a spectacle we were never able to witness as fans. With the precipitous fall for both fighters it's not something that will ever be seen, but so long as Emelianenko remains with M-1, it appears White and the UFC will not have any interest in him at all.
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Jamie Penick, editor-in-chief
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