(“Can we take that one over again? Andrei blinked and Rothwell wandered into the shot.” Photo courtesy of CageToday.)
MMA Weekly reports that UFC and Affliction executives met late last month to build a formal partnership that would allow Affliction to return to the UFC as a major clothing sponsor and work with the UFC to create co-branded apparel. In exchange, Affliction would agree to cease operations as a fight promotion and allow the UFC to buy out several of their fighter contracts. Unfortunately, the détente began to fall apart after EliteXC’s “Heat” show on October 4th, when Affliction’s ads plugging Fedor’s next fight made UFC executives feel that the deal wasn’t being taken seriously.
On Monday, a conference call was held between UFC and Affliction execs in an attempt to resurrect the partnership. Details are sketchy, though MMA Weekly reports that the call quickly turned hostile, with Affliction co-founder Todd Beard at one point telling Lorenzo Fertitta “you’ve fucked with the wrong guy.” So for now, it looks like Affliction is still shut out of the Octagon, and will continue to burn money as a fight promoter. Their next event, headlined by Fedor Emelianenko vs. Andrei Arlovski and co-promoted by Golden Boy, goes down January 24th at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California.
But Affliction isn’t the only apparel brand that’s getting shut out of UFC events. MMA Payout has learned that MMA apparel and collectible company MMA Authentic — best known for its CageFighter label — has been barred from the Octagon effective immediately:
The dispute is rumored to have arisen from a conflict over shelf space in Wal-mart stores. Sources told MMAPayout.com that CageFighter/MMA Authentics beat out the UFC for the valuable real estate in the nation’s top retailer. As a result Zuffa pulled the plug on MMA Authentics’ access to the Octagon in retaliation…
CageFighter and MMA Authentics has a impressive list of fighters who will be adversely affected by the ban. BJ Penn, Michael Bisping, Forrest Griffin, Marcus Davis, Brandon Vera, Urijah Faber, Sam Stout, Roger Huerta, and Chuck Liddell all have signature shirts available for purchase through one or more of the MMA Authentics brands.
Do it, CageFighter — hire Jared Shaw and start your own MMA league to compete with the UFC. You know you want to.