I can only imagine that Dana White has plenty of free time on his hands this week out in Las Vegas, what with the sudden cancellation of UFC 151 and all. White went from having a week chock-full of travel and promotional/hype-man duties to nothing at all.
It's probably refreshing, but it's also likely quite maddening for White. He's used to sleeping three or four hours a day and keeping up a work schedule unlike anyone else I've seen in my lifetime. Take it from someone who spent plenty of time around White during my year living in Las Vegas: The man never sleeps. If all 12 Cylon models weren't already accounted for, I'd totally think White was one of them.
So yes, White might be just the slightest bit bored this week. So you can understand why he's taking some of that downtime to troll the Internet.
White took to the popular mixed martial arts forum The Underground last night and posted the following message in a thread discussing the potential of the UFC signing the long-awaited fight between Fedor Emelianenko and Brock Lesnar:
From: dfw jr
Member Since: 1/1/01
Is this the fight u guys want to see? Post a thread asking if people want to see this fight.
And of course you know that the Internet exploded shortly after White pressed "submit."
First of all, I'll just get this out of the way: Are you freaking kidding me? OF COURSE it's the fight the fans want to see. It's the fight they've wanted to see ever since Josh Barnett killed Affliction back in 2009, thus allowing Fedor to become a free agent and begin negotiations with the UFC.
White was obsessed with Emelianenko in those days. He was the one guy that hardcore fans—and by that I mean fans of the PRIDE promotion—said he'd never be able to get, so of course he simply had to get him.
"This Fedor thing has gone on and on and on," White said at the UFC 100 post-fight press conference. "Eventually, Fedor's going to be here. I want Fedor. I want him to come to the UFC and everything else. This guy (Brock Lesnar) just won the heavyweight title, and we'll end up getting that deal done. And then we'll do him vs. Fedor, and it'll be a huge fight."
White went to extreme lengths to sign Emelianenko, even going so far as to actually fly out and meet the legendary Russian fighter and his handlers on an unnamed island. It all sounds far more secretive and James-Bond-Meets-Evil-Russians than it actually was, but the fact that the story is true illustrates just how far White was willing to go in order to bring Fedor into the fold.
He offered Emelianenko the largest contract they'd ever offered a fighter, with nearly $2 million per fight in guaranteed money. He opted to allow Fedor to participate in combat sambo, which went against the strict rules and regulations Zuffa has in place for its fighters when it comes to participating in other combat sports while under a UFC contract.
He did everything he could, and even once believed he was close enough to a deal that he began discussing the possibility of Lesnar vs. Emelianenko for the UFC heavyweight title in the brand-new Cowboys Stadium in Dallas, Texas.
But you know the rest of the story. Emelianenko's handlers at M-1 Global wanted fame along with the fortune, and they wanted co-promotion with the UFC. That was never going to happen. The deal fell apart, and Emelianenko went to Strikeforce, where his career quickly spiraled downhill and never recovered. He's back, living in his hometown, and likely happier for never having to deal with the MMA world again.
It's been three years since White had his last best shot at getting Emelianenko into the UFC. Lesnar battled disease and heavyweights who were simply much better fighters than he, and eventually departed for the safer shores of World Wrestling Entertainment, where he shows up every few months and makes something along the lines of $300,000 per appearance.
It's good money, but more importantly, it's good money without the prospect of getting punched in his permanently-changed midsection. Lesnar is through with UFC and through with the real fighting, and those close to him will tell you that he's never, ever going back in the cage. Not for a real fight, anyway.
It's time to put this fight to bed. It was a dream once, and it was a good dream. But both participants are no longer actually participants, and our precious debate time is much better spent discussing the outstanding and legitimate heavyweights who actually still compete.