(When you absolutely, positively need someone who will poke you repeatedly in the eye, there really is no substitute.)
While there are any number of reasons why an athletic commission might not license Gilbert Yvel (he is, after all, one of MMA’s most despicable people), it seems as if the CSAC is going to let him fight. They’ve cleared him to apply for a license, which basically means that all he has to do pass medicals and not pull an Aleks Emelianenko and get himself benched at the last minute.
But just in case Tom Atencio says he has “people in line if it doesn’t work out."
Trouble is, finding a credible replacement to face someone like Josh Barnett isn’t the same as finding someone to go against Paul Buentello in an undercard fight. There you could just call up Gary Goodridge and nobody would feel as though they’d lost out. In the case of Barnett, you’ve got to get a high-level replacement in order for the fight to feel like anything other than a consolation prize or premeditated ass-whipping.
Atencio wouldn’t say who he has lined up, but whoever it is can’t be a serious opponent for Barnett. It would have to be someone with enough of an ‘I don’t give a fuck attitude’ to take that fight on short notice, and also someone who is a non-UFC heavyweight not already on the Affliction card, which rules out Paul Buentello, thank God.
Fortunately Affliction has set hopes low by giving Barnett someone like Yvel to begin with, but dammit, if we see “Big Daddy” Goodridge come shuffling out at the last minute again, whatever credibility Affliction has left will be destroyed just as surely as he will.