Dave Meltzer brings us crashing back to reality from the dream of Fedor in the UFC:
–The only thing we can say on the subject is that two different sources have told us negotiations between UFC and Fedor have fallen through again.
I’d like to say I’m not surprised, but I am. If Fedor was ever going to be in the UFC, it was going to be now. The timing is PERFECT to siphon into the Zuffa moneyline, but his ridiculously stubborn management has thrown the chance away. His stock is higher than ever at the moment, Affliction put him on the map just enough to make a wave, and Red Devil has gotten “reasonable” numbers from Zuffa.
But the boat has been missed and it may not come back. There is no other place for Fedor to make his bank; Affliction is dead, DREAM can’t pay, Sengoku is lucky to just be coasting and Strikeforce isn’t dumb. This is the same guy who spoke of fighting as a means to put food on his table and raise his family. Then again, that’s when he was fighting top guys once a year in between Zulu/Hunt/TK/Ogawa/Nagata/early UFC competitors. Now he’s changed his tune to “nationalism” and “freedom”.
The fact that he isn’t going to sign with the UFC tells a major story about his character. Yes, FEDOR’S character. Vadim Finkelchtein is just a mouthpiece. That’s like blaming Robert Gibbs for something Obama did. If you don’t think Fedor can override anything Vadim wants to do then I don’t know what to tell you. Fedor is a grown man who is making a conscious decision to avoid competing with the best fighters in his division.
That’s right: Fedor is ducking the UFC. There is no other way around it. Message boards everywhere are overflowing with fans turning on him. Why isn’t he going to the top? He’d become a millionaire, fight for the biggest title, increase his fanbase exponentially and cement his ever-weakening legacy. Because his managers want to co-promote? What is there to promote? M-1 has killed every organization it worked with – and even some that never ran a show before folding. Everything Fedor has worked for will be irrelevant at the hands of his managers. Unless moves are made.
It’s clear on what needs to be done: people need to get off of Fedor’s bandwagon and start calling him out. He can’t be the best if he doesn’t continue to fight the best. He has cleared out everyone who is around or fallen off of the Heavyweight MMA mountain, but doesn’t want to go to the top. Do people still think otherwise is possible? Did anyone have Frank Shamrock ranked at 205 in 2007 because he didn’t lose after he beat Tito? Of course not. Guys who fawn over him like Josh Gross need to step up and say, “Hey Fedor, you aren’t going to stay #1 if you don’t fight anyone.” It’s what has to happen for Fedor’s legacy, for the sport and for the fans. But it won’t.
Unless anyone has the guts.