Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) President, Dana White, used the purchase of PRIDE Fighting Championship — and its subsequent dissolution — to make a play for 265-pound kingpin Fedor Emelianenko, who made a career out of smashing former UFC heavyweight champions.
Tim Sylvia, Andrei Arlovski, and Frank Mir all fell under “The Last Emperor’s” sword.
But Emelianenko was under the guidance of M-1 Promoter Vadim Finkelstein, who demanded a co-promotion deal with UFC. Neither side would budge at the negotiating table — held on some remote island in the middle of nowhere — and the Russian gladiator went elsewhere.
White still regrets it.
“The only fight that I wanted to make that was never made was Brock Lesnar vs. Fedor Emelianenko,” he recently told UFC.com. “We were going to do it at Texas Stadium. But I couldn’t get a deal done with Fedor, so it never happened.”
Lesnar, already retired at the time, went back into hiding until summer 2016.
Emelianenko (39-6, 1 NC) was competing on the international circuit at the time of his negotiation with UFC back in 2012 and came into the Lesnar talks on the strength of a three-fight winning streak. He would capture two more wins before signing with Bellator MMA, where he stands at 3-2 with three knockout finishes.
With just two fights remaining on his “retirement tour.”