Fedor turned down biggest offer ever

Fedor Emelianenko
Fedor Emelianenko reportedly turned down the biggest UFC contract ever.
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Damon Martin

Damon Martin is a veteran mixed martial arts journalist who has been covering the sport since 2004. His work has been published in CNN, Bleacher Report, MMAWeekly.com, Yahoo! Sports, UFC.com and SportsIllustrated.com. He also co-hosts The Great Debate Radio MMA podcast, and has appeared on ESPN Radio and SportsNet Radio. Follow him on Twitter.


Fedor Emelianenko remains a retired mixed martial artist living in Russia with no plans to return to fighting, but his name still pops up because of the iconic nature his career carried for several years in the heavyweight division.

Just recently Emelianenko took part in an interview where he was asked about why he never signed with the UFC, and the ultimate reason came down to one thing — because he felt UFC president Dana White hated him.

On Thursday when speaking to FOX Sports, White answered Emelianenko's claims while pointing out that he's worked with a ton of fighters that weren't necessarily his friends, but they still conducted business professionally and got treated like top notch athletes.

"Me and Lorenzo were f—king laughing about that," White said about Emelianeko's comments. "Who did I hate worse than Tito (Ortiz)? The guy lost a 100 f—king fights in a row and retired in the UFC."

The UFC president along with co-owner Lorenzo Fertitta tried on a number of occasions to sign Emelianenko to a deal, but the most famous attempt came a few years ago when the pair flew to an undisclosed island to meet with the fighter and his representatives to try and get a deal done.

White was emphatic that they laid out a massive contract for Emelianenko to join the promotion, but his representatives had no other reaction than to laugh at the offer.

"So think about this, Fedor — we fly to some f—king island to go layout this contract deal for him that they laughed at and turned down and I guarantee it, it's hitting that dude now, him and Va-dummy (Fedor's manager Vadim Finkelstein) when they go to bed at night they lay in bed and they turn the lights off and they just go f—k what did we do? We should have taken that f—king deal!" White exclaimed. "You know me. We've made every big fight with every fighter since we bought this company — you don't think we didn't want to do Fedor vs. Brock Lesnar? I f—king wanted to make that fight so bad."

The plan was to sign Emelianenko and match him up with Lesnar in a mega-fight that would have taken place at Dallas Cowboys Stadium in Texas.

According to White, the dollar amount offered to Emelianenko was the largest ever in UFC history, but he still turned it down. On the flight home, White joked with Fertitta that financially they just dodged a big bullet by not actually signing the Russian fighter to a deal.

"Some day I'll tell the story of how much we offered that f—cker too. People will f—king s—t," White said. "It made no sense. It was one of those types of deals, you know these networks do (these deals with the NFL), the NFL does $9 billion in television revenue, it makes no sense for the network. The network doesn't make a dime off of the NFL, but you've got to have the NFL right? The NFL pulls ratings like anything. This was one of those deals where it's like it makes no f—king sense whatsoever. Literally, when we got on the plane we're flying back we're like thank f—king God they turned that offer down!"

White believes at this stage of the game Emelianenko is happy in retirement, and regardless of his status they have no desire to ever pursue him again.

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