'I couldn't get a deal done with Fedor': Dana White says UFC were close to Fedor Emelianenko vs. Brock Lesnar superfight
Emelianenko's status as a perennial legend of mixed martial arts is assured thanks to a two decade, 46-fight professional career which saw him compete predominantly in Japan and his native Russia.
However, despite featuring the scalps of several former champions on his resumé, Fedor never competed under the banner of the UFC - something Dana White says he came close to rectifying several years ago.Also on rt.com WATCH: Fedor Emelianenko hands Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson first-ever KO defeat from punches with BIG win in Japan
In 2013 White and the UFC, who'd been longtime suitors of Emelianenko, attempted to finally secure the Russian's signature and proposed to him a lucrative fight with Brock Lesnar at AT&T Stadium in Dallas, Texas, in what would have been the largest event ever promoted by the company. Talks appeared to be progressing towards a deal, before an unexpected hitch nixed the negotiations.
"The only fight that I wanted to make that was never made was Brock Lesnar vs Fedor Emelianenko. We were going to do it at Texas Stadium. But I couldn’t get a deal done with Fedor, so it never happened," White said in an interview with UFC.com.
"We were in deep talks with [Fedor]),” White said, shortly after the negotiations. "We were that close to signing him recently, right before his 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).
"Remember when I met with him and said it didn’t go well? It actually went well. It went well, and Brock wanted to fight Fedor. Then (Fedor’s) dad died, and he was done."Also on rt.com ‘I’m NOT retiring!’: Russian MMA legend Fedor Emelianenko clears up quit talk after KO win vs ‘Rampage’ Jackson in Japan (VIDEO)
Instead of the potential clash with Lesnar, Emelianenko returned from a more than three-year hiatus in late 2015 to beat Singh Jaideep as part a RIZIN card before ultimately settling on a deal with Bellator for whom he has fought five times, winning three.
Most recently he competed on December 29 where he defeated Quinton 'Rampage' Jackson by first round TKO.