(As a rabid Dallas Mavericks fan, Fedor’s going to be very, very disappointed.)
Affliction’s first MMA show — previously slated to be held July 19th in Dallas, featuring the fight between Fedor Emelianenko and Tim Sylvia — has hit a major speed-bump, as it has reportedly lost its venue as well as a TV deal. FiveOuncesofPain bears the bad news that an agreement between Affliction and HDNet has fallen through, and Affliction was not able to book the American Airlines Arena as the venue for its debut card; according to Randy Couture on Saturday night’s installment of Rear Naked Radio, the event could instead be held at The Honda Center in Anaheim, CA. Perhaps more important than the venue change, Affliction’s up-in-smoke relationship with HDNet means they’ll have to find another TV broadcast partner. It was rumored that HDNet was going to televise several matches from the undercard on July 19th to drive buys for a live pay-per-view telecast, then air the tape-delayed main card a week later.
The failed deal follows a previous botched partnership between Affliction and Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions. At a recent press conference, De La Hoya shed some light on why his promotion company stepped back from Affliction’s upstart MMA league:
“We decided that we are going to focus all our energies on promoting boxing. Boxing is the game that we have to focus on because there’s so much room for growth and the potential is enormous. We definitely want to capitalize on that and have all our focus and energy be on taking boxing to another level…MMA is going through some very rough patches and transition issues…recently two companies that are public had FCC filings that raised doubt about their ability to continue [ed. note: Referring to the IFL and EliteXC]. We want to see what’s going to happen with the sport. Maybe we will enter the MMA business to diversify in the future.”
Fine, Oscar — don’t be a pioneer.
In an unrelated (but also crappy) development, FiveOunces reports that EliteXC has banned its fighters from wearing Affliction clothing during cage entrances; the UFC put the kibosh on Affliction back in January. No word yet on whether EliteXC’s decision was made to prevent their fighters from promoting a competing MMA league, or because Affliction’s t-shirts offend Gary Shaw’s finely-tuned sense of style.