Get ready, fans and friends…Dana White has once again set his sights on Strikeforce and MMA legend Fedor Emelianenko. In a new interview with MMAWeekly, White talked at length about his biggest rival and the man he has been chasing unsuccessfully for years. So, did White finally show a little humility? This is Dana White we’re talking about, after all. Here are the highlights from the always-controversial UFC President.
“You hear me talk about Fedor. I flew to crazy places, made him a very respectable offer to come in and fight… I tried to make that fight happen, and they know it, whether they say it or not… The other thing with Fedor is I never say never… I like (Alistair) Overeem. I’ve always had a good relationship with him… What you have to realize is the guys that fight in the UFC fight the very best in the world three times a year. Did you ever notice these guys at Strikeforce have a hard time getting their people to come in and actually fight… When we sign a guy we want him to fight three times in a year. How the hell is he going to fight somewhere else?”
It’s easy to say “I told you so” once all is said and done. However, I will commend Dana White on his blissfully limited shots taken at Fedor post-loss. White actually seems to have taken an “it is what it is” approach to Emelianenko and his semi-notorious management team M-1 Global, and when you compare it to some of the negative things he had to say leading up to Emelianenko’s shocking loss to Fabricio Werdum earlier this year, it appears that Dana White may actually be humble in victory…at least, on this particular occasion.
I also think that Dana White has a point about fighters fighting in other promotions or even other sports, however, the point he’s making only applies to the UFC. It’s actually quite beneficial to “loan out” your top dogs to other promotions (so long as they win) when you’re a fledgling promotion. It gives you and your fighters more credibility, more marketability, and more eyes on your product. Alistair Overeem may have taken a long hiatus away from Strikeforce in order to fight in K-1, but he emerged from that excursion deadlier and more popular than ever before. The UFC doesn’t need any crossover appeal because they’re already the biggest name in the game. For Strikeforce, they could use all the help they can get.
In the end, I think it’s possible that both Overeem and Emelianenko may one day wind up in the UFC. Like Dana White, I also subscribe to a “never say never, anything is possible in MMA” philosophy. I think it’s unlikely on both counts, with Overeem a little less than Fedor, but I would certainly love to see both men step inside of the Octagon.
And when it comes to the “UFC vs. Strikeforce” war, there really is no war to speak of. Strikeforce has some very good stars and quite a few big names on their roster, but for the most part they’re still very much a growing promotion trying to find their place. Dana White has called himself “The Grim Reaper” when it comes to other MMA promotions, but Strikeforce remains on stable ground and could be a worthwhile challenge to the UFC in the next several years, so long as White doesn’t sign away their biggest stars, which I’m quite sure he could do if he wanted to badly enough.
And what about you, fans and friends? What do you make of White’s latest remarks concerning Fedor, Alistair, and Strikeforce?