Atencio: "It Doesn't Phase Me What [Dana White] Says"

Written by Tom Ngo
July 13th, 2009

Tom Atencio

Immediately following their historic UFC 100 event, president Dana White stated that he will soon deliver WAMMA heavyweight champ Fedor Emelianenko to Octagon fans. The only problem is, Emelianenko is currently signed to Affliction Entertainment. Today, Affliction VP Tom Atencio spoke exclusively with 5thRound.com regarding White’s presumptuous comments.

“It’s not something that I even think about,” Atencio told us regarding the possibility of his biggest draw bolting to the UFC. “It doesn’t phase me what [Dana White] says. [The UFC] can talk, but I just don’t see it happening, personally. But if it does, then perfect. As a fan, that’s something that I would love to see.”

He wouldn’t love seeing it more than White as the brash Prez all but assured Emelianenko’s addition to the UFC roster at the UFC 100 post-fight presser.

“Eventually, Fedor’s going to be here. I want Fedor. I want him to come to the UFC,” White matter-of-factly stated. “We’ll end up getting that deal done. And then we’ll do Brock vs. Fedor, and it’ll be a huge fight.”

White might think he has the inside track on inking the worlds best pound-for-pound fighter to a deal, but Atencio is confident that his relationship with the Russian and his reps will pave the way for a seamless contract extension.

“They’re going, they’re good,” Atencio said to 5thRound.com regarding contract talks with Emelianenko and Co. “We’ve almost finalized it, but we just haven’t signed the papers. That’s really where we’re at. Everything is moving forward, it has nothing to do with anything but the fact that we’re just trying to make everybody happy, as I always do.

“We have a great relationship with them and we’re always going to continue on with that, and that’s why I’m not too worried about [losing Fedor].”

Atencio previously told 5thRound.com that he was working on an extension that would keep the soon-to-be 33-year-old under wraps for another three years.

“We’re gonna move forward with M1-Global, they’re our partners…we are looking to bring him on until 2012,” Atencio told us at the “Affliction: Trilogy” press conference last month.

Although Affliction and M-1 haven’t been able to put pen to paper as of yet, Atencio knows first-hand how challenging partnering with the world’s biggest MMA organization can be. So if Emelianenko was interested in bouncing, he can look forward to a lengthy and drawn-out negotiating process.

“[Fedor’s representatives] always tell us what’s going on,” Atencio said. “We’re partners and that’s what you have to do in a partnership. They’ve talked to the UFC in the past, we’ve talked to the UFC in the past. The UFC does not co-promote. The UFC doesn’t want to work with other people and that’s really what it comes down to.

“That’s why I am confident that I don’t see [Fedor leaving]. But, if it happens, I think it’s great. I want to see fighters fight the best in the world.”

Emelianenko is managed by Vadim Finkelchtein, who just so happens to be the owner of M-1 Global. Simply put, anywhere that Fedor goes, so does M-1 and that means the UFC would have to allow a co-promoted Brock vs. Fedor event in order for that scrap to come to fruition.

Good luck with that.

Emelianenko’s impending free agency officially jumps off the very second his tango with Josh Barnett comes to an end at “Affliction: Trilogy” on August 1st inside the Honda Center in Anaheim, California.

What takes place after that could very well dictate the course of mixed martial arts for years to come.

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