(Photo courtesy of ESPN.)
M-1 Vice President Jerry Millen released a lengthy statement to the media last night congratulating Randy Couture for his return to competition as well as Brock Lesnar for his UFC heavyweight championship win, while lambasting the UFC for marketing their fighters as the best in the world — when clearly it’s M-1′s own fighter, Fedor Emelianenko, who should hold that distinction. And there’s no secret who Fedor wants to take on next to prove it:
Couture and WAMMA heavyweight champion Fedor Emelianenko had publicly acknowledged a desire to fight each other multiple times over the course of the past year. While M-1 and Fedor remain interested in a match against Couture, we would also like to publicly state for the record that we would welcome a superfight between Fedor and Lesnar that would be held as a co-promoted event between the UFC, M-1, and Affliction Entertainment.
We’ve invited the media to speak with us today to not only make it clear we would welcome a Fedor vs. Lesnar matchup, but to act in a preemptive fashion to address the possibility that UFC officials will try and position Lesnar as the number one heavyweight in the world, much like they have tried to use a marketing ploy to brand Anderson Silva as the number one pound-for-pound fighter in the world.
In the past, UFC president Dana White and Zuffa, LLC CEO Lorenzo Fertitta have tried to claim that Fedor was “overrated” and that his “record was irrelevant.” They make these claims in spite of the fact that Fedor holds career victories over UFC champions past and present. While we have tremendous respect for the contributions Mr. Fertitta and Dana have made to this sport, we do not believe they are sincere in their statements.
It is the position of M-1 that the UFC has adopted an anti-Fedor policy because multiple attempts to sign him have not been fruitful. For a company that has tried to market itself as the number one promotion in the world, they are unable to accept the fact that the number one fighter in the world does not reside on its roster of contracted fighters…
While Brock Lesnar is an accomplished athlete and a talented fighter, we do not consider him to be the number one heavyweight in the world. Until someone beats him, we strongly believe that Fedor should continue to be recognized as the undisputed heavyweight champion of the world. In a match between Fedor and Lesnar, we do not feel that at this stage Lesnar would be able to make it out of the first round.
Which is kind of an empty bluster in itself, considering this fight will never, ever happen. As interesting as Fedor vs. Brock would be, we all have to accept that the UFC and Fedor Emelianenko won’t be coming to terms; it’s gotten personal, and there are too many impossible demands on both sides. And it’s hard to tell who’s more to blame — the UFC for the ultra-exclusive one-sidedness of their contracts, or Fedor for his inflated price tag, insistence on competing in Sambo tournaments, and requirement that M-1 come on as a co-promoter.
In the UFC’s defense, they haven’t started calling Brock Lesnar the #1 heavyweight in the world yet, though that will certainly change if he defeats the winner of next month’s Nogueria/Mir match. And perish the thought, but let’s say Brock does manage to get past Big Nog next year (sorry, Frank). Would calling him the best heavyweight in the world be that ridiculous? If Fedor keeps fighting and beating top-ten opponents, then yes, probably. But Fedor can’t compete forever, and Brock’s career is just starting…