Fedor spurned Lesnar fight - White

ESPN staff
October 18, 2013
Fedor Emelianenko spurned the UFC's advances © Getty Images

UFC president Dana White has revealed that in 2009 he tried to tempt heavyweight legend Fedor Emelianenko into fighting Brock Lesnar with a "nonsensical" amount of money.

White and UFC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta flew to an island off Venezuela to meet Emelianenko and his representatives to attempt to sign him to a contract.

The pair planned on pitting Emelianenko against then-UFC champion Lesnar at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. White believes the event would have broken all UFC pay-per-view records.

Emelianenko - regarded as the greatest heavyweight in MMA history - did not go for the deal however, and retired without ever competing in the UFC.

White laughed off Emelianenko's claim earlier this week that his failure to strike a deal with UFC was due to the president hating him. White pointed out that he also tried to snap up Emelianenko on two other occasions, with Fertitta conducting negotiations.

White also claimed that Emelianenko's representatives said their client would only compete in UFC if they built an arena in Russia.

"When I tell you we did everything, someday I'll tell the story of how much we offered that f*****, too," White said. "People will f****** s***. It made no sense [how much we offered]. It was one of those type of deals like, you know that these networks, the NFL does $9 billion in television revenue. It makes no sense for the networks. The network doesn't make a dime off that. But you have to have the NFL, right? The NFL pulls ratings like anything.

"This is one of those deals [we offered Emelianenko] where it's like, 'This makes no f****** sense whatsoever.' Literally, when we got onto the plane when we were flying back, we were like, 'Thank f****** God they turned that offer down.' We were like, 'Thank God they turned that down.' "

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