Dana White vs. M-1: Is Fedor Emelianenko's Management Just Playing Games?

Darren WongSenior Analyst IJanuary 5, 2010

CULVER CITY, CA - DECEMBER 14:  UFC president Dana White speaks onstage at Spike TV's 2008 'Video Game Awards' held at Sony Pictures' Studios on December 14, 2008 in Culver City, California.  (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for Spike TV)
Kevin Winter/Getty Images

Last week, Dana White confirmed on multiple occasions that he has had recent talks with M-1 Global representatives about acquiring the services of Fedor Emelianenko.

According to M-1 Global, those talks never happened.

In recent press releases, everybody from M-1 president Vadim Finkelchtein to Fedor himself has gone on record saying that those negotiations never took place.

According to MMAjunkie.com, Jerry Millen said the following:

"I called everybody in the company before I made this statement. I called (M-1 Global president) Vadim Finkelchtein and talked to him, and he said, 'Absolutely not. There's no correspondence with the UFC at all.'"

Millen, who is known for taking shots at Dana White, continued on to say that the UFC is not doing well with Pay-per-view lately, that the UFC is lying about its PPV numbers, and that it desperately needs Fedor in order to bring in some revenue.

White's comments weren't really specific as to the exact time of his communication with M-1, so I suppose that it might just be the case that M-1 isn't acknowledging negotiations that happened a while ago. But White could be stretching the truth when he says that the negotiations were "more recent than you would think."

Given the circumstances, I'm not sure exactly why White would say what he did, unless he was simply being honest. At this point, he stands little to gain by talking about recent negotiations with M-1.

Many believe that White's public attempts to sign Emelianenko this past summer gave Emelianenko far more press than he would have gotten if White had not gone after him at all.

All of this leads me to one final question:

Could it be that M-1 is just playing games with White?

It certainly serves M-1 very well to have White talk about them, bringing further attention to M-1. Then, if M-1 denies any talks ever occurred, it just makes Dana White look bad.

I wouldn't be surprised if M-1 was just talking to White for the sole purpose of creating a little bit of buzz at White's expense, considering they've never really seemed seriously interested in bringing Emelianenko over to the UFC.

I have a feeling that White will respond to M-1's recent statements with something along the lines of, "no comment," as he's probably sick of giving M-1 all sorts of press for no good reason.

There is probably no real proof or concrete evidence that negotiations have taken place, but it will be interesting to see how White reacts to the latest developments in this ongoing battle of public perception.

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