Around this time last year, Fedor boarded a plane bound for California to fight Josh Barnett at Affliction: Trilogy. Upon landing, he was given the news that Josh Barnett had tested positive for performance enhancing drugs and there will be no opponent to replace him. Not going to beat a dead horse, even if that horse took 3 non-refundable plane tickets out of the MiddleEasy travel budget and ritualistically set them on fire. In retrospect, the money would probably have been wasted on Nike Air Jordans and Costco-sized boxes of beef jerky, so we’re slowly getting over it. I mean it’s not like we were about to fly to Japan or anything…
Although news surfaced that Ubereem was scheduled to fight Ricco Rodriguez, the Strikeforce champion issued this statement a few days later:
“After my Brett Rogers fight on May 15, I decided to take time off and do media appearances — MMA expo in Canada, E3 expo, Strikeforce events — and enjoy some time off with my family. I knew Dream wanted me on the show, but I didn’t want to go back in training preparation. Then, they offered me a fight against Andrei Arlovski for the Dream heavyweight title. As I have said on occasions, fighting for a belt means something more, and I wanted that Dream title so much that So as a result, I agreed to lay off my media and holiday plans, and went back to training.
“During my training I found out that Andrei Arlovski was not going to be my opponent, and they changed opponents numerous times. I’ve heard names like Tim Sylvia and Minowa. At one point, I received notice that they had found a opponent but that the Dream heavyweight title was not on the line anymore. With all the changes and the title fight no longer a possibility, I simply had to turn down the opportunity.
“The next day, I immediately took a flight to San Jose to hype up my possible fight against the winner of Fedor Emelianenko or Fabricio Werdum. I then heard rumors that Dream had booked me in a fight against Ricco Rodriguez. I want to make it very clear that I never verbally agreed to fight him and I never signed a contract with Dream to fight him. I feel very sorry for Ricco Rodriguez’s camp if they still think the fight is on, and I apologize to my fans that have bought a ticket to see me compete. I hope this statement has shed some light on the unfortunate situation.”
Unfortunately, Ricco Rodriguez did not get that memo and he’s currently on a plane to Japan under the assumption that his fight with the Demolition Man is still going down in 3 days. Japanese MMA is notorious for last-minute matchups, and while Ubereem has made it clear he will not be fighting on that card, DREAM maintains that he is. Personally, I really want this fight to go down, so I’m going to believe DREAM. Chances are, I’ll doze off sometime around 6:00am during the broadcast and just assume I missed it. Then I’ll probably yawn, stretch, pour myself a bowl of fruit loops and assume Ubereem won via 1st round knee strikes. [Source]