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Dana White vs. Fedor Emelianenko: Why Not Still Go After The Last Emperor?

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Dana has recently stated that he's "done playing the games" and is not interested in signing Fedor. His reasoning is that after suffering a loss, who is Fedor to be such a man who deserves to be in the UFC after turning down their efforts to acquire him?

I can understand where Dana is coming from. He is, after all, the boss of the premier mixed martial arts promotion in the world. For a guy who claims, "I honestly and truly have not believed that Fedor is this great heavyweight that everybody thinks he is," he must have been displeased that Fedor's first real loss wasn't while wearing UFC gloves. He could have cashed in on Fedor before he went bust, so to speak.

The only way I see Dana being justified in not signing Fedor would be due to M-1 Global's continued persistence in making ridiculous demands. There's a high probability of that -- Fedor is, after all, their most prize-worthy cash cow -- but if the demands were just, and the occasion presented itself, Dana should still do what he can to sign him.

But how could Dana, who claims he wants what the fans want, who has tried to convince us that he's a fan as much as the rest of us, not entertain the thought of acquiring Fedor, still widely regarded as the best heavyweight of all time? He's signed lesser fighters before.

Does it really matter if he's not currently the best? For what Fedor has achieved as a fighter he deserves to be considered one of the great fighters of his time. There is no reason not to consider adding such an accomplished fighter into the mix to engage in some intriguing match-ups with other great fighters. If he doesn't do so well, what difference does it make? Cro Cop hasn't lived up to expectations while in the UFC's roster, but he's still a draw and is well respected. Many people were more excited to see Cro Cop vs. Pat Barry than the main event between Rich Franklin and Chuck Liddell.

Fedor, however, is being punished for his own success. If not for his 28-fight winning streak, which spanned almost ten years, he would not have had nearly as much media attention and wouldn't have been so lauded by his fans and loathed by his detractors -- the latter having jumped at the first real chance to sully his reputation, who resented the praise he received, who have been calling him overrated and undeserving, who now feel justified after he suffered his first real loss, a loss which was due to his own mistake as much as it was due to Werdum's talent. They have been waiting a long time for him to fall, and now they're salivating with excitement at the first chance they have to use something against him.

Fedor's detractors, Dana included, resent the magnitude of praise the media bestowed on him and they attempt to match this grandiosity with emphatic criticism. It's unjustified and petty. Fedor doesn't control the media and the whirlwind of praise and criticism which surrounds him, so why should he be blamed for it? If one were happy with one's conviction that Fedor hasn't fought as many top-tier guys as others would have us believe, so be it. But to discredit his greatness and his efforts is to show nothing else but ignorance.

I recently had the pleasure of watching all of Fedor's fights in sequence, from his first professional fight to his last. If you haven't had the chance to do so, I recommend you watch them. If it does not open your eyes to his great efforts, to his great contribution to the sport, you must surely be happy in your contempt, whatever it stems from, as you will have overlooked such a great and unique character in mixed martial arts.

Finally, to the people who have no regard for Fedor: I feel sorry for you that you can't appreciate an exciting and excellent fighter, who is equally as unique as he is great. Too bad you don't know it. And to the rest of us who know he is -- well, we can be happy with the knowledge and appreciation that others fail to understand.

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