Dana personally thought he was overrated, but Dana also knew that regardless of what he thought, Fedor would sell big.
As I've said in the other threads on this matter, it's a business issue, not a personal one. If you're a car dealer, you don't just sell the ones you like the look of.
Can't argue with that.
The fact he wanted Fedor beacuse the marketing potential WAS huge is no secret.
The fact that he didn't like M-1 and their methods is no secret also.
The fact that Fedor wasn't close to his heart is also a known fact.
But, he comes out now and tries to act like he was Nostradamus - the guy that knew everything, the guy that predicted the future. And that's not the case here.
The truth is: Dana would sign Fedor tomorrow IF he could. But he knows it's almost impossible.
Fedor would still sell huge in the UFC, even with 2 straight losses.
Put him against Brock Lesnar and you have 1,000,000 PPVs guaranteed.
But...like you've said. Dana has an image he needs to keep (protect) and he's acting towards that goal.