Dana White vs. Vadim Finkelstein (M-1 Global)
When asked by a fan in 2013 what his biggest regret was during his time running the UFC, Dana White responded that it was his failure to sign Russian heavyweight legend Fedor Emelianenko.
The problem lay with Fedor’s Russian management team M-1 Global, led by Vadim Finkelstein (or ‘Vadummy’ as White took to calling him) who was notoriously hands-on and difficult to deal with when it came to the Russian star’s career.
There had been animosity between White and M-1 Global for years with Fedor caught in the middle, and when the two parties did eventually attempt to hammer out a deal face-to-face it couldn’t have gone any worse.
“His management made the biggest f*ck-up in the history of all sports,” White recalled years later of M-1 Global decision to turn down a multi-million dollar deal. “We flew down there and tried to make Brock Lesnar vs. Fedor and it was for big, big money. They f*ckin’ laughed at it and I told them, and he’ll lie if you ask him this, I told him and he knows I f*ckin’ told him — not Fedor, Vadummy — I told Vadummy, ‘You’re one punch away from being worth zero.’ He didn’t take it. They thought they were too cool and too slick and too f*ckin’ funny.”
Instead Finkelstein struck a co-promotion deal with rival organization Strikeforce, during which Fedor would be defeated three times. The star would later retire, and M-1 Global abandoned their international expansion plans.
”Like I said, they’re not laughing now,” White said of M-1 Global’s misfortune.