Posted by MMA Junkie on February 8, 2008 at 5:19 pm ET
Fedor EmelianenkoSaying he will no longer permit Dana White to disparage him, former PRIDE heavyweight champion and famed Russian fighter Fedor Emelianenko has fired back and penned an open letter to the UFC’s head president and challenged him to allow a fight with UFC heavyweight champ Randy Couture or interim champ Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira.
The letter was today sent to MMA.junkie.com (www.mma.junkie.com
) and posted on m1mixfight.com, the website of Emelianenko’s management team.
Ever since the UFC tried — and failed — to sign Emelianenko, White has continually blasted Emelianenko, questioning his fighting ability, world ranking and his quality of opponents. In an October 2007 press conference, White even went as far as saying that Emelianenko “sucks” and that “Fedor isn’t even a top-five heavyweight let alone (ranked) top pound-for-pound (fighter).“
The 31-year-old Emelianenko, who held the PRIDE Fighting Championships’ heavyweight belt for more than four years before the organization’s eventual demise this past summer, is a career 27-1. Although he’s defeated some of the most notable fighters in the sport — including current UFC fighters Nogueira, Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic and Heath Herring — he’s fought few (if any) top-tier guys in recent years.
Emelianenko recently turned down an offer to fight exclusively for the UFC, saying the contract was too restrictive, and instead signed with the recently restructured M-1 Global organization.
However, he still wants to challenge the UFC’s best, including Couture, who resigned from the organization in October for what he perceived to be a lack of respect from UFC executives, as well as the UFC’s inability to sign Emelianenko, whom he wants to fight before retiring.
As Emelianenko wrote (keep in mind it’s been translated by a third party):
Numerous times have I read mister White’s statements on Internet concerning myself. In my opinion, allowing yourself to say those things is not a sign of a gentleman or a grown man at all! If he candidly wants to prove himself right then let my fight with Randy happen or let me face the reigning UFC champion Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira. In the future I wouldn’t want to hear those statements in my address ever again and I won’t tolerate that.
My last fight in Japan proved that I’m ready to fight anybody with any height advantage, skillset or experience. I have fought and still wish to fight the best athletes. The Randy fight is my goal number one right now, he’s a great fighter and this is a very unfortunate situation when too strict and one-sided UFC contracts don’t let this fight happen.
The whole world is eager to see me fight your champions, people don’t want to listen to your press-conferences. I’m signed with M-1 Global and this promotion is ready to organize such fights under our banner or in co-promoted events.