Speaking to Luke Thomas on MMA Nation today on 106.7 The Fan, AOL Fanhouse MMA writer Mike Chiappetta said that the UFC's urgency to sign a deal possibly set the deal back.
I'm too lazy to transcribe, but here's the gist of what Mike said:
This is an excellent point and it really brings home just how unusual these negotiations have been. The UFC brass has been especially impetuous, even by Dana White standards. It is pretty amazing that they have managed to get the fans this riled up and angry at Fedor for not rushing into a deal, no matter how lucrative it is.Fedor's been a free agent for a week and a day, it's reasonable that he and his team would want to take some time and field the offers that they have coming in. There are a lot of people interested in promoting Fedor, including I'm sure some people that we are not aware of, people who are new to MMA or are getting back into the game. They want to take some time and think about Fedor's future. This is after all a two or three year commitment and he wants to make sure he's doing the right thing for himself and his future.
The question I'm wrestling with right now is this -- have Dana and the UFC managed to make Fedor an even hotter property? Coming off of UFC 100, there is unprecedented interest in the UFC and MMA. While ESPN has not been giving the Fedor negotiations attention, the dramatic increase in traffic to the MMA media has got to have some impact on the marketplace.
If the UFC has succeeded in making Fedor an even hotter property, they'll be the ones to suffer the consequences. Many in the comments are dismissing Fedor's importance, but if he didn't matter the UFC wouldn't be offering him the world.
If Fedor signs with Strikeforce and gets on CBS, he's a game changer. If Fedor aligns with a major boxing promoter (say Golden Boy) and they get him on HBO, he's a game changer. If Fedor goes to Japan and fights Satori Ishii on live network TV, he's a game changer.
If Fedor signs with the UFC, they have the top fighter in each division according to the USAT/SBN Consensus MMA rankings. At that point UFC = the major leagues of MMA.* Until they have Fedor, or he loses, they're just the best promotion by a very wide margin. If they get Fedor on board, they become a black hole at the center of MMA, pulling all who want to be considered among the world's top fighters into their orbit.
*It can be argued that DREAM and WVR/Sengoku have lightweight divisions that are comparable with the UFC's but no single fighter has put together a case to match that of B.J. Penn's for being the best lightweight fighter in the world.