UFC president Dana White spoke to the media today about Fedor Emelianenko and the upcoming events and news in the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
White says Fedor will not be fighting for the UFC.
"We came to the table willing to give up just about anything, except the co-promotion," said White. "I guarantee you he won't be offered another deal like this in mixed martial arts."
White says if Fedor wanted to challenge himself, he would come to the UFC. Randy Couture, Brock Lesnar, Frank Mir, Chieck Congo, Cain Velasquez, Shane Carwin and Mirko Cro Cop were some of the names White mentioned as potential competitors.
There is no doubt the UFC has the most depth at heavyweight. In fact, among those on the UFC's roster, Fedor has only fought Cro Cop, Heath Herring, and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. Fedor has also dispatched former UFC champions Andrei Arlovski and Tim Sylvia in his two fights with the now defunct Affliction promotion.
White contends the UFC/Fedor deal is not completely dead. He says the UFC is still willing to do a deal, but it will not involve co-promotion. White says M1 Global can call now and he'll keep talking.
Old Fighters Back
The bigger news, though, concerns two other fighters. Tito Ortiz (15-6-1), the UFC's longest reigning light heavyweight champion, is making his return to the Octagon. And, Vitor Belfort (18-8), who last fought for the Las Vegas-based promotion in 2005, which coincidentally was a loss to Ortiz.
In his return, Belfort will be fighting Rich Franklin (25-4). The two will headline UFC 103 in Dallas.
"When we announced that Rich Franklin was fighting Dan Henderson, fans were pissed," White says. "Fans didn't like it."
As for Henderson, White says he is likely the next fighter to get a shot at Anderson Silva's belt.
"Dan Henderson is definitely next in line for the title shot," said White. "The Nate-Maia, Damien Maia fight puts them in the mix, too."
Ortiz says he is healthy and nearly ready to fight.
"For me, it was about competition," said Ortiz. "Competition was my biggest factor...Babalu, I'd crush his face...Frank Shamrock would be the first death in mixed martial arts history."
Ortiz says he is pain free and no longer experiences numbness in his legs. He is preparing to wrestle.
Ortiz is possibly eyeing a spot on the main card for the UFC's New Year's Eve show. According to White, Ortiz's next fight in the 205-pound division could be against Mark Coleman (16-9).
"We're talking about him fighting Mark Coleman," said White. "He (Coleman) came out and beat Stephen Bonnar, so we're talking about Tito versus Mark Coleman in his first fight."
Ortiz said, "Thanks, Dana, now I've got my work cut out for me."
ESPN UK and UFC reached a deal. The three-year deal will launch Aug. 13, starting with UFC 101, for free to English and Irish fans. The broadcast will be in high definition.
Paul Daley, Ben Rothwell, Dan Lauzon, LC Davis, Javier Vasquez, Mark Hominick, Chase Gormley, and Rafaello Oliveira are all signed with Zuffa in either the UFC or WEC based on weight. White says they are in talks with other fighters, including Gegard Mousasi.
White also says the UFC will continue promotion in other states and countries, including Russia and Japan.