Six months ago there were three major MMA promotions opperating within the US; Affliction, EliteXC and The UFC.
Affliction had stockpiled fighters and partners to the tune of Fedor Emelianenko, Andrei Arlovski, Josh Barnett and Donald Trump among a host of others.
EliteXC had internet sensation Kimbo Slice and a deal with CBS who gave the promotion a primetime slot to pimp their product to the public.
The UFC had the best fighters in the world and a reality TV show you may have heard of called “The Ultimate Fighter” which they used to push their PPV’s.
Fast forward six months…EliteXC/ProElite has folded due to excessive operating costs and controversy surrounding the alleged payoff attempt made to one of their fighters (see Seth Petruzelli vs. Kimbo Slice).
Affliction, despite making a huge splash with their inaugural, star-studded “Banned” event on July 19, has yet to hold a second event and were forced out of the UFC’s backyard after attempting to hold an event in Las Vegas on October 11. Apparently, ticket sales were abysmal and the promotion was forced to tuck tail and head back to California where they are scheduled to hold their second event, “Day of Reckoning” on Jan. 24th. Hmmm… January 24th…the same January 24th that their supposed partners at Golden Boy Promotions are hosting a Superfight boxing match up between “Sugar” Shane Mosley and Mexican legend Antonio Margarito? Yep, that’s the one.
And just in case that weren’t enough misfortune for Trump, Cohen, Atencio and the rest of the boys at Affliction, Dana White and the Fertittas hit them with this early Christmas gift – the UFC will be airing a re-run of their second highest grossing event ever; UFC 91: Couture vs. Lesnar on the same night, at the same time for free on Spike TV…ouch.
The success of “Day of Reckoning” is very important to the survival of Affliction, who lost an estimated 3 million on their last event. Affliction can’t continue losing that kind of jack and stay in buisness for long, just ask Doug Deluca and Gary Shaw.
With the aformentioned developments, Affliction will be facing a huge uphill battle on the 24th. But, that said, they do have some advantages. The card they put together, much like thier inaguaral card, is stellar; featuring the following matchups:
MAIN CARD (To be aired on PPV)
Fedor Emelianenko vs. Andrei Arlovski
Josh Barnett vs. Gilbert Yvel
Vitor Belfort vs. Matt Lindland
Renato “Babalu” Sobral vs. Rameau
Chris Horodecki vs. Dan Lauzon
Paul Buentello vs. Kiril Sidelnikov
UNDER CARD (To be aired on HDNet)
Vladamir Matyushenko vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira
Jay Hieron vs. Jason High
L.C. Davis vs. Mark Hominick
Antonio Duarte vs. Albert Rios
Patrick Speight vs. Brett Cooper
Affliction also has deep pockets and deals with HDNet and Fox Sports, which could lead to higher profile programing if they can sustain themselves through the early turbulence of the next couple of years.
Whether or not Affliction can weather the UFC counter programing storm remains to be seen. If the past is any indication the UFC will be waiting with some type of programing at every Affliction event. That’s assuming that Affliction makes it out of Jan. 24th as a viable MMA promotion. Between the UFC: 91 and Mosely vs. Margarito that’s certainly not a given, though the company has repeatedly stated that they will do at least three events before deciding on their future.
Boxing is still very popular and fans of both sports will be forced to choose between one card or the other which will ultimately hurt both cards. How much, only time will tell, but this show will go a long way toward predicting Affliction’s future.
Will the clothing company rise to become a legitimate competitor and alternative to the UFC or will it go the way of PRIDE, Bodog, and EliteXC?