Reaction from fans to heavyweight great Fedor Emelianenko’s return to mixed martial arts has been varied. Everyone is excited to have the stoic Russian back and interested to see how he’ll do in the cage. Until this point, no one actually expected him to sign with Ultimate Fighting Championship, where almost every serious heavyweight fighter competes.
The reason? For years, UFC and Fedor’s management went back and forth, exchanging offers, contracts, and insults when the offers and contracts were refused. To give you a hint of how bad it got, UFC President Dana White’s nickname for Fedor’s manager Vadim Finkelstein was “Vadummy.” But Vadummy is now giving us hope that there will be a different result in this round of negotiations. From Submission Radio, transcript via Bloody Elbow:
“It’s about money, and when it comes to Fedor, it’s only his choice. He has a very wide choice of MMA organizations in the world, and who will make a better offer to him will get Fedor.”
“If they will make a good offer to him that will be good for himself, then he can accept this. Also Bellator can make a better offer. … Dana talked a lot. [He] talked a lot about Fedor, about Vadim, and he talked bad. But Fedor understands that it all was just PR. He’s not in a bad relations with Dana and he doesn’t feel anything bad about him.”
“I think UFC have a big chance to sign Fedor. It depends on what offer they will make. If Dana would not only talk, but do some things [and] will make a good offer to Fedor, they have a big chance then.”
All the past obstacles that used to stand in the way of Fedor entering UFC now seem gone. The demand that the UFC “co-promote” events with Russian promotion company M-1? No longer an issue. The exclusive Reebok uniform deal? Fedor seems interested in getting in on that, as well. All that epic sh*t-talking that went down over the past decade? Water under the bridge!
So, it sounds like UFC just has to make the right financial offer to the former heavyweight great. Whether Dana White wants to spend that kind of money on Fedor remains to be seen. Emelianenko’s hefty contract was one of the reasons Affliction MMA went under, and a big part of why Strikeforce’s owners ended up selling their promotion to the UFC. He might be worth more to UFC as a poison pill for other promotions.
From a fan’s perspective, Fedor in UFC is something we’ve been dreaming about since the glory days of PRIDE FC. Let’s hope that happens. The alternative — Fedor fighting Tito Ortiz in Bellator — is more than just a little depressing.
(via Bloody Elbow)