BloodyElbow kicked up a lot of dust last night when they published a rumor saying that Affliction was preparing to shut its doors as an MMA promotion, and might be trying to arrange a deal with Zuffa to cut some of their extensive losses. In response, Tom Atencio went on the Hardcore Sports Rage show (Sirius 98) to deny the reports, saying that Affliction’s MMA promotion still had the backing of Golden Boy Promotions, Donald Trump and M-1 Global:
"The rumors are just that, rumors, they’re not true, there’s no truth to it. People love to build you up, but they love to watch you fall even more and hopefully I’m not that guy. I’ve always maintained that I’ve taken the high road, I don’t talk shit about people."
The rumor apparently originated from an incident on the Tom Leykis Show, where someone called in claiming to be the Affliction VP. The real Tom Atencio denies he was on the show, and denies that Affliction is reaching out to the UFC for a parachute, though he wouldn’t speak about the details of the company’s financials. ("That’s like me coming in and asking you how much you make at your company," he said.) Atencio suggested that the UFC felt threatened by Affliction’s relationship with Fedor Emelianenko, and asked everyone to just please chill out:
"Right now, I’m learning a lot about this business. I’ve been honest from day one and right now, I’m going to sit down with Golden Boy, M-1 and Mr. Trump and we’re going to figure out how we’re going forward. We’re going to do events every three or four months…The bottom line is, this is only our second event, let me learn, let me do what I’m doing, but I must be doing something right because someone is starting these rumors"
I’m not in business and my partners aren’t in business to lose money, so things will work out…Everything that I do and every time that somebody doubts me and every time there’s another boulder in the road, I just go around it. This is a pretty fun part of life for me. I can honestly sit back and say that I love my life, I love what I do, I love where I am and even if there’s change, I’m just going to get up and move forward."
To add a new wrinkle to the story, Fight Opinion claimed that the original BloodyElbow rumor post was actually planted by Zuffa itself, though BE vehemently denies it.