(Whaddaya say, Baby Face, feel like taking a pay cut and burning some bridges?)
According to FiveOuncesofPain, Affliction is looking at holding their third event on July 11, 2009. If you’re thinking that this date sounds familiar for some reason, congratulations, you are an astute observer! Yeah, July 11 is when UFC 100 is. And it’s kind of a big deal to the UFC. So why would Affliction guarantee that their event gets counter-programmed by scheduling it on the same night as one of the biggest UFC cards ever? Possibly because they know they’re done and want to hurt the UFC however they can on the way out.
That’s what Sam Caplan thinks, anyway. According to his report Affliction is offering “restructured” contracts to their fighters (read: asking them to fight cheap) in the hopes of lowering overhead costs and getting the event on network TV or basic cable. They know that no pay-per-view distributor wants to go head to head with the UFC, but if they can offer their show up for free they figure it might hurt the UFC’s PPV buys just a little, and what the hell, Affliction isn’t looking to promote any events after this one anyway.
Obviously, this sounds a little far-fetched and there’s a lot of speculation being attributed to anonymous sources here. But the craziest part is that Tom Atencio did not deny any of it. Maybe he’s allowing this rumor to spread as some form of misdirection to hide whatever it is he’s actually doing, or maybe the guys at Affliction have finally gone batshit crazy enough to think that this is a good idea.
Right now it’s hard to believe that they could do this even if they wanted to, because they need the fighters to agree to less money in order to fight for a promotion that is virtually guaranteeing its own demise just to mess with a competing organization. They’d also need to find a network or cable partner willing to air a single MMA show with little hope of follow-ups. None of that seems likely. But if you told me that you were planning to make millions selling douchey, overpriced skull t-shirts I’d say that was unlikely too. Joke’s on me, I guess.