UFC president Dana White has had a rough patch lately. The forced cancellation of UFC 151 had to be one of his biggest challenges in his decade-long tenure with the organization. He was clearly unhappy at the press conference and he's even stopped tweeting since August 20.
He did reappear last night to
troll poll the members of MMA.TV's famous UG forum about a Fedor Emelianenko vs. Brock Lesnar bout:
"Is this the fight u guys want to see? Post a thread asking if people want to see this fight."
The response was predictably voluminous.
A poll of MMA Mania readers showed 71% still want to see the most exciting fight of 2009. What do Bloody Elbow readers think?
After the jump I'll speculate about why Dana is doing this.
SBN coverage of UFC 151: Jones vs. Henderson
Here are two possible reasons for Dana White asking fans about this fight:
- He just wanted to change the subject
In the aftermath of the UFC 151 fiasco, Dana desperately needs to distract fans with something else to talk about. What better than a fight that should have happened in 2009 but seems impossibly unlikely today. Both Brock and Fedor have retired from MMA, Brock after serious health issues. In this interpretation, Dana is just telling fans, "Hey look over there!"
- He's rethinking everything
Dana's not known for his deep philosophical tendencies, but anyone who's had a bruising public defeat like cancelling a PPV is going to do some thinking. Dana vociferously denied that the UFC has been putting on too many events at the UFC 151 cancellation press conference, but all the evidence (PPV #'s, TV ratings, ticket sales) is pointing in the other direction. Maybe Dana's trying to think of some big moves he can make to get fans buzzing about the UFC in a positive way again. In this scenario he's actually considering trying to put the fight together.
It's been three years since White had his last best shot at getting Emelianenko into the UFC. Lesnar battled disease and heavyweights who were simply much better fighters than he, and eventually departed for the safer shores of World Wrestling Entertainment, where he shows up every few months and makes something along the lines of $300,000 per appearance.
It's good money, but more importantly, it's good money without the prospect of getting punched in his permanently-changed midsection. Lesnar is through with UFC and through with the real fighting, and those close to him will tell you that he's never, ever going back in the cage. Not for a real fight, anyway.
It's time to put this fight to bed. It was a dream once, and it was a good dream. But both participants are no longer actually participants, and our precious debate time is much better spent discussing the outstanding and legitimate heavyweights who actually still compete.
It's been a long couple of weeks for Dana and the UFC, maybe he just needed to take his mind off things. All the same, if he can book Fedor vs. Brock, it's still better late than never.