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Despite a Few Glitches, Affliction is Off and Running

(Photo courtesy of Combat Lifestyle.)

Something strange happened at the Affliction post-fight press conference last night. Co-promoter Roy Englebrecht got up in front of the microphone and thanked the media for their support. Then VP Tom Atencio did the same thing.

‘They must be talking about the L.A. Times,’ I thought to myself. But then they specifically mentioned all the blogs and the websites. As in, the MMA blogs. On the internet. Where the pussies live. Was I dreaming? An MMA organization that puts on a blockbuster card and yet still sees the MMA media as something other than an inevitable aggravation? Was that even possible?

Affliction thinks so. Their first event was not without a few snags — like trouble with the in-arena audio and long, unexplained delays that even forced the cancellation of the Justin Levens-Ray Lizama bout due to time constraints — but they still delivered something unforgettable. In front of almost 14,000 fans in Anaheim, they proved that there really is such thing as an MMA fan base, rather than simply a UFC one.

Of course, that’s a little easier when you’ve got Fedor on your team.

After destroying Tim Sylvia in thirty-six seconds, the number one heavyweight on the planet showed up at the press conference looking in all ways like an unremarkable man. He smiled shyly, as if embarrassed by all the attention, and played down his own accomplishments while saying that his celebration would include a trip to “the big rollercoasters” at Six Flags Magic Mountain.

Just a few minutes earlier a humbled Tim Sylvia had appeared before the press. For that alone he deserves some credit. Few of the night’s losers bothered to show up and answer questions. Sylvia didn’t have to, but he came anyway and described Fedor as an awesome force which may or may not be human.

“I’ve never been hit that hard before in my life,” the former UFC champ said. “And I don’t care who knows it. …This guy is unreal. He’s incredible and I don’t think he’s going to be beaten for a long time.”

Fedor hardly seemed as if he had been in a fight at all. The only indication was a thumb that had popped out during the fight, which he later popped back in.

“I’m not too worried about it,” he said.

The question now is just how worried should the UFC be about their new competitor. Even with a sellout crowd Affliction most likely lost money on the event, if for no other reason than their epic fighter payroll for the event, which has been reported as being somewhere between $3-5 million. But after last night’s show they should have the momentum they need, provided they can put together another big event soon enough to capitalize on it.

Atencio said he expected the second show to take place in November, though he was vague on details. With Fedor, Josh Barnett, and Andrei Arlovski all victorious in their matches — and with Randy Couture still waiting in the wings — there’s no shortage of options the next time around. Renato “Babalu” Sobral also noted that there was one name he had in mind for his next fight, and he hoped Atencio would make it happen. If he does, Sobral said, “I’ll be here to kick his ass.”

After that remark, the name ‘Tito’ drifted in the air.

Other notes from the press conference:

- Matt Lindland said he’ll likely have to take a little time off from fighting if he wins his race for the Oregon State House in the fall because “it’s kind of a full-time job for a little while.”

- Mike Whitehead admitted he lied about his weight during the Affliction press tour, telling reporters he was actually closer to 275 than the 250 he claimed to be at the time.

- Tom Atencio claimed that even he didn’t know why Aleksander Emelianenko was denied a license to fight, saying that the CSAC “doesn’t necessarily give us a reason.”

- Josh Barnett said he wasn’t happy after knocking out Pedro Rizzo because “there aren’t many people in the world who have a beautiful soul, and Pedro’s one of them.” Barnett also said he was surprised by the positive reaction from American fans because the UFC seems to breed a “more negative” type of crowd. He said there were some boos, but “that can’t be helped. I know what they’re weaned on.”

Cagepotato Comments

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@jersekid96- July 21, 2008 at 12:29 pm
Yea, I know who you were talking about, you missed the point of my statement. You can ALWAYS say that if the opponent knew this or if he was built like that or if he had moved like this or connected like that he would of won but those statements are bullshit cause the fight happened the way it happened and that is why they fight. Otherwise it is all just hypothetical.
jersekid96- July 21, 2008 at 1:50 am
if thats 7 foot chinaman new how to defend an armbar he would have killed fedor
Ant- July 20, 2008 at 7:22 pm
Not to compare MMA to Wrastling but...We saw what happened when Ted Turner tried to take on Vince McMahnon. Hung for a couple of years and then was gobbled up by him. I have a feeling Dana is gonna do the same to Affliction.
@ jersekid96- July 20, 2008 at 7:02 pm
HELL Yeah!!!!! and if someone bigger, stronger and faster than fedor and who knew how to fight better than fedor they would kick fedor's ass......... what? stfu
jersekid96- July 20, 2008 at 6:44 pm
Denny- July 20, 2008 at 10:01 am
This is sad. I thought Sherdog was the home for anti-UFC bias but the tone of this article makes it sound like one of theirs.
babcock- July 20, 2008 at 3:02 am
dude rings suck cages rule. there really shouldnt be much of an argument here. anytime you dont have to stop a fight for some stupid reason and anything to avoid that she be smiled upon. so i smile upon you all might cage :) and frown on you stupid fucking ring :( suck one
Try Again- July 20, 2008 at 2:58 am
@ Jeff

You do know that there is more than one way to pull off a rear naked choke right? Just because he wasn't able to get his forearm all the way under the chin doesn't make it something else.
Jeff- July 20, 2008 at 2:48 am
The three fights I've watched so far have kicked ass, I'm impressed with the Affliction show. I love the big ring and the way they handled it when they went under the ropes.

Rothwell/Arlovski, Barnett/Rizzo, and Fedor/Sylvia were the fights I saw. Fedor is a BEAST! Why did they call that a rear naked choke? I don't know what it was but it wasn't a rear naked choke like they said...

Fedor is the best pound for pound because he's fought better competition than Anderson Silva and GSP.
its a ring deal with it- July 20, 2008 at 2:34 am
all you guys complaining about the ring, have you not seen anything besides the ufc, try watching the video "decade of pride fighting" It's called something like that you want to see exciting fights anage d guess what they fought in a ring. cage sucks when somone is pinned up against it there is no technique just weight. the ring is the way to fight. It will take some getting used to, affliction had way better ko's and if alex would of fought he would have kicked ass
Anonymous- July 20, 2008 at 2:24 am
The bar I was at was showing both UFC and Affliction. I was trying to not watch UFC because I was DVRing it at home and wanted to watch it later. I kept finding myself watching more of the UFC though then the Affliction. I hated the ring, I think a cage is much better. I was surprised that not a lot of people were at the bar and even more surprised at how many people cleared out right after the Silva fight, even when Fedor was coming to the ring, 3/4ths of the people had left. We will see what kind of card they can put together in the future. I know for damn sure it was a hundred times better than any EliteXC bs card.
joerogan- July 20, 2008 at 2:10 am
dude asshammer dont be a douche. joe rogan is one of the most knowledgeable announcers out there. he knows just as much as a bjj black belt like frank mir except he actually has a personality and isnt afraid to speak his mind thats the most ridiculous thing i have heard. Joe Rogan is a pimp.
MMA Fan- July 20, 2008 at 1:53 am
I want to see the ratings from both shows.Just to see how well Affliction done against the UFC.I watched both shows (recorded the UFC) and liked them both.The only thing i didnt like about Affliction was the ring.I feel that any MMA event should use some sort of cage or if they do use a roped ring put a net around the bottom two ropes to keep the fighters from falling out of the ring like Babalu vs Whitehead.I think it gives the fighter an opportunity to grow a vagina and get out just so the fight will go back to there feet. Just saying.
whatev- July 20, 2008 at 1:18 am
affliction was great. amazing card. no bullshit fireworks or dancing sluts. just great fights.
Seriously- July 20, 2008 at 12:48 am
@ Patrick

Exactly how much did Joe Rogan pay you to say that. I really think he doesn't even watch the fights. I'm not saying i could do better but i really think he just makes up fights in his head and then says it out loud.

I would probably think Affliction shirts are retarded to if I couldn't afford one on my Mcdonalds salary.
Sideshow- July 20, 2008 at 12:40 am
Affliction was good. UFC is and will always be better. Competition is always good for the consumer.
wake up- July 19, 2008 at 10:44 pm
DonnyG they were heavy weights competing on the affliction thats why they looked a little heavy. have you seen the physique of the best fighter in the world its not a bodybuilding competion its a fight. fedor will kill anyone
vv- July 19, 2008 at 10:37 pm
wow. All I know is, whenever Fedor and Anderson Silva are fighting ill be watching. Those 2 men are insane. I thought both of their oppenents would atleast drag them into the 2nd round. Fedor/Silva > Rest of the MMA world.
Mike- July 19, 2008 at 9:53 pm
Funny how no matter what level of media it is, mainstream or blog, the media always thinks it is about THEM and not the people they cover.
thecasualfan- July 19, 2008 at 9:30 pm
I watched the UFC, and saw some of the video from affliction. I am mixed on both the Ervin knockout was retarded, so was the Sylvia TKO WAY to lopsided these were not fights. I was dissapointed in both events, the Arlovski fight was pretty good and so was the Frankie Edgar fight. With few exceptions neither event was great, and I think overall feel it might be a step backwards for MMA, the whole counterprogramming thing is bad, there is room for two powerhouse mma promotions hopefully affliction will be one of them, they have a good roster, and if the heads of the promotions could clear there heads for a moment, an interpromotional competition would be AWESOME!!! that would be a reason for having two promotion!

We can all get along
Dr.- July 19, 2008 at 8:51 pm
Affliction did give a little love for the small guys. Hominick had an aired match. I changed the channel every time Megadeath came on. I appreciate what they were trying to do but it wasn't necessary. Same goes for the opening ceremonies with the main card fighters standing on the ramp. If you're going to take a page from PRIDE openings, get that dude in the loin cloth beating an oversized drum and fire from 2004 Shockwave.

Other than that, it was 100 times better than EliteXC. Plenty of areas to polish but overall good to watch. Had to be better that Launchpad and JT Money - haven't seen that so can only speculate.

I still won't be buying an Assfliction shirt because I don't need to try to fool people into thinking I train or compete - especially at bars/clubs.
Buy a F'ing cage- July 19, 2008 at 8:44 pm
The Affliction event was good for a first event. I can only imagine that they can only go up from here. Surely with the introduction of some sponsors and for Gods sakes get rid of the ring. My friend had an idea that night. Instead of an octagon use a square cage. The ropes got in the way and the fighters were in danger when they fell through the damn ropes. You could even use a hybrid where the bottom 2 ropes are eliminated and replaced with a pad or something. In summary the UFC needs to hop om this Affliction thing before they start hurting their ratings. I would absolutey love to see some co - promoted fights between these two goliaths. Maybe its wishful thinking or I am looking too far ahead.
Patrick- July 19, 2008 at 8:20 pm
@ "Captain Asshammer"

If you hate the UFC so much, stop watching.
Something tells me that's not going to happen.
Stop being such a poser.

Oh, and Affliction shirts are retarded.
(and Rogan is a good announcer)
DonnyG- July 19, 2008 at 8:15 pm
I watched Affliction live and UFC when I got home the same night. I have to say the UFC was better in almost every way. The only bad part of the UFC card was the Vera fight. The affliction card had several long boring fights but you can't always control that. None of the Affliction fighters even looked like they were in good shape except maybe Arlovski.

The production (especially the sound) for Affliction was pretty bad. And Megadeath was awful.

Fortunately the last two fights for Affliction were pretty good so that kind of saved it.

I'll put it this way Affliction was good the UFC was much better.

I don't know if I will put out the effort to see the next show.
Matt the Good Dancer- July 19, 2008 at 7:57 pm
I also realized that i write like im still in 6th grade.