Affliction Entertainment vice president Tom Atencio has confirmed that his company’s August 1st Affliction: Trilogy show has been called off. The charismatic VP stated that co-headliner Josh Barnett’s abrupt exit from the card made it impossible to find a suitable replacement.
“Finding an opponent for the No. 1 ranked MMA heavyweight champion in such a short period of time was a huge endeavor, and I’m thrilled at the amount of fighters willing to take on this challenge,” Atencio stated. “But in the end, we just didn’t have enough time to promote a new fight to our standards.”
Barnett was slated to challenge WAMMA heavyweight king Fedor Emelianenko for his strap in the most anticipated heavyweight clash in MMA history, however the California State Athletic Commission refused to grant him a license after traces of metabolite (2a-methyl-5a-androstan- 3a-ol-17-one), of the anabolic steroid Drostanolone, were found in his system after submitting a pre-fight screening on June 25th.
Although Atencio remained positive that he could find a “worthy” substitute to take on MMA’s Terminator, it appears that no one they interviewed for the job fit the box office billing they required.
Strikeforce top contender Brett Rogers, Jeff Monson, Bobby Lashley, Don Frye, “King” Mo Lawal and Paul Buentello were among the fighters mentioned for the slot, however it was former UFC light heavyweight champ Vitor Belfort that was the leading candidate to land the gig.
In closing, the company issued this somber statement regarding their canceled show:
“Affliction is deeply disappointed that the undercard is also canceled through no fault of its own. Affliction stands behind the company’s brands and delivers premium products to the most passionate and loyal customers. Affliction’s first priority is to ensure that all future events live up to the company’s high standards.”