PRIDE FC Heavyweight Champion -- and the most coveted mixed martial arts free agent on the planet -- Fedor Emelianenko was not introduced last night as the latest big-name talent to join the UFC organization.
The news (or lack thereof) was a major let down mixed martial arts fans who had anticipated a big announcement.
However, his physical absence did not stop ringside announcers Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan from talking about the Russian throughout the UFC 75: "Champion vs. Champion" telecast.
In fact, at one point during the main event between Rampage Jackson and Dan Henderson, Goldberg mentioned to UFC Heavyweight Champion Randy Couture -- who helped out on the mic throughout the championship fight -- about the prospects of "The Natural" taking on Emelianenko.
It was bizarre because very rarely does the UFC permit talk about fighters not in its organization during broadcasts much less let it be the topic of conversation on more than one occasion during a major event.
Put simply, all the Fedor Emelianenko talk was not an isolated incident or a slip.
Perhaps it's a move to publicly pressure Emelianenko and his Red Devil management team back to the negotiating table -- there's still the comment from UFC President Dana White that the most recent talks "didn't go well."
Now that the majority of top heavyweight fighters are now in the UFC there are very few options for Emelianenko if he wants to tangle with the best in the sport. Josh Barnett is the only other notable heavyweight currently not under UFC contract.
One thing to keep in mind is that Emelianenko is allegedly very careful about who he faces. Reports indicate, for example, that he does not want to fight former UFC heavyweight champion, Tim Sylvia, because it is a bad style match up.
And after everything that has happened with the recent fall of fellow PRIDE FC alum, Mirko Cro Cop, in the UFC there maybe some serious need for even more caution -- Fedor boasts perhaps the most invincible aura in the history of the sport.
It's a legacy worth protecting ... but not forever.