Despite rumors to the contrary, Josh Barnett says he did not turn down a fight with Andrei Arlovski at ‘Elite XC: Heat’ on Oct. 4. Though talk centered on the possibility that Barnett bristled at the idea of taking a pay cut to help Affliction get their co-promotion on with Elite XC on CBS, “The Baby-Faced Assassin” declared in a MySpace blog post that he was not asked to take any such pay cut and did not turn down the fight:
I read somewhere that I had declined the fight because I would have had to take a pay cut. I suppose others may also formulate some story about me declining the fight for other reasons.
I never decelned to take this fight. I was never told that I would have any part of my pay reduced since working with Affliction. To my knowledge, no one has been asked to take a pay cut that fights for Affliction.
I did not turn down this fight.
Whether Barnett knows it or not, some Affliction fighters were asked to take pay cuts for the second show. Barnett already committed to fight at Sengoku 6 in November after news of the Affliction postponement, so he may never have been a realistic option for Elite XC. Now Roy Nelson gets Arlovski, and Barnett gets to go back to Japan and entertain all the loyal Josh-a-maniacs there.
In other Affliction/Elite XC news, Affliction COO Michael Cohen indicated that there will be an ongoing arrangement between the two organizations. Affliction’s postponed second event, now apparently scheduled for Jan. 24 (or maybe there’s no set date yet, depending on who you ask), will also be a co-promotional effort between Affliction and Elite XC, and will either air on CBS or Showtime:
“We truly believe this co-promote will help the sport to become more mainstream,” he said. “Fans should certainly look forward to seeing more fights on primetime television and Showtime.”
At least, that’s the story for now. By next week it could be completely different. If this tenuous deal holds, however, we’re looking at a significant change in the MMA landscape. Elite XC and Affliction might have been teetering on the edge of obscurity before but by bringing their fighter rosters and various TV deals/overpriced-clothing money together, they suddenly have the potential to become a major player.