It appears that UFC president Dana White’s comments over the weekend about “recent” talks he’s had with M-1 Global regarding Fedor Emelianenko’s services may have been of the fictitious variety. Late Monday afternoon, two M-1 bigwigs vehemently denied having any communication with the world’ biggest MMA organization.
“I called everybody in the company before I made this statement,” M-1 global executive Jerry Millen told MMAJunkie.com. “I called (M-1 Global president) Vadim Finkelchtein and talked to him, and he said, ‘Absolutely not. There’s no correspondence with the UFC at all.’
“I think Dana, in a fantasy dream he had, he signed Fedor. That’s probably the ‘more recent than you think.’ He’s dreaming. He wants Fedor. His heavyweight division is a mess.”
When asked why he thought White, who sits comfortably atop the mixed martial arts world, would need to conjure up lies in order to mess with a company that isn’t quite in his league, Millen suggested White was simply being a hater because of Strikeforce/M-1’s partnerships with media outlets White has been unable to close.
“When I saw this coming down, I was like, ‘OK, what’s going on here? Is this Dana trying to affect our relationship with CBS and Showtime and Strikeforce?'” Millen asked. “We have a great relationship. We’re very happy with our partners, and we see a great future with them. But this is a way to undermine somebody.
“If you think somebody isn’t fully committed, would you be fully committed? What you do is create doubt, and that’s what they’re trying to do – create doubt that M-1 is not fully committed. But we are fully committed to Showtime and Strikeforce. It’s a great partnership.”
It’s possible there might be a hint of jealousy on White’s part as he’s received a lot of flack for not having closed a network deal at this point and Strikeforce has, however White’s defense would be that he doesn’t need to hate on anybody because his promotion is killing it with pay-per-view revenue, and that’s why the UFC is in no hurry to rush into a premium cable or network deal, like his rivals were forced to – past and present.
Well, maybe not … if you ask Millen.
“The (UFC) pay-per-views aren’t doing well,” Millen added. “I don’t care what anybody says, the numbers that people are reporting the pay-per-views are doing, they’re not doing.
“Their pay-per-views are hurting, and for the next couple of pay-per-views, look at the main events. I love the fighters that are fighting, but they’re not going to sell a lot of pay-per-views. So Dana has got to stir up controversy or talk it up any way he can.”
Bottom line, is this ever gonna go down???
“You can never say ‘Never’ in anything,” Millen said of seeing Emelianenko inside of an Octagon. “Would I love to see Fedor fight [UFC heavyweight champion] Brock Lesnar? Sure. I’d love to see him smash Lesnar. But it would have to be an M-1/Strikeforce/UFC collaboration, and they’re never going to do that. They’re never going to break their business model. They’re just not, unless the fans keep hammering Dana so much that they have to.”
You hear that peeps, Jerry says it’s our jobs to make this happen!