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In a telling interview released on UFC.com on Thursday evening, UFC head-honcho, Dana White, has revealed how one of his major regrets during his time as promotion President, is his failure to book a heavyweight matchup between, Brock Lesnar, and Russian mixed-martial-arts icon, Fedor ‘The Last Emperor’ Emelianenko.
The often polarizing White, spoke of his intentions to make the pairing of the two during 2013, with many factors preventing the closure of the deal. During that year, Lesnar had just returned to professional wrestling under the WWE banner, having lost twice in a row to Cain Velasquez, and Alistair Overeem – while Emelianenko was in competition limbo, having handed Pedro Rizzo a knockout defeat under the M-1 Global stewardship the previous summer. In an interview on UFC.com Dana White revealed the mishap which occurred as the promotion attempted to book Lesnar vs. Fedor.
“The only fight that I wanted to make that was never made was Brock Lesnar vs. Fedor Emelianenko“, White said. “We were going to do it at Texas Stadium. But I couldn’t get a deal done with Fedor (Emelianenko), so it never happened. We were deep in talks with (Fedor) Emelianenko. We were that close to signing him recently, right before his (Emelianenko’s) dad died. We were right there/ When I was talking about doing the big Dallas, Texas, stadium show? It was going to be Brock Lesnar vs. Fedor Emelianenko.”
White has previously outlined his intentions to pen Emelianenko to an Octagon deal in the past, particularly when Emelianenko was under the banner of the aforementioned promotion, M-1 Global. Emelianenko’s manager, Vadim Finkelstein, and Dana White also don’t enjoy the most cordial relationship, with White referring to Finkelstein as “Vadummy” in past interviews – due to ongoing, ultimately fruitless contract negotiations.
The highly-anticipated meeting is undeniably ‘dead in the water’ in today’s climate – with Lesnar briefly returning to the Octagon at UFC 200 in a unanimous decision win over Mark Hunt – which was eventually overturned to a ‘No Contest’ after Lesnar tested positive for the banned substance, clomiphene. The 42-year-old was slapped with a one-year suspension from USADA. Emelianenko, on the other hand, is currently under contract with North American rival promotion, Bellator MMA. The PRIDE FC icon featured at Bellator & Rizin: Japan last weekend, as he finished the fan-favorite, Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson via a first-round knockout, in a less than competitive match.
Senior writer for FightBook MMA. An aspiring mixed martial arts reporter based in Ireland. Producer of news articles, interviews, opinion features, and exclusive features such as, ‘The Fallout’, ‘The Breakdown, and, ‘This Week In MMA’.
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