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Fedor Not Making As Much As You Think, Says Affliction VP Atencio

(‘I am happy to be in your Square of Time! You give me money now, yes?’)

Here’s a strange twist for you: an MMA promoter is trying to downplay how much one of his fighters is making. After years of Dana White trying to convince us all that UFC fighters are paid better than we think, it’s something of a surprise to hear Affliction VP Tom Atencio doing his best to quiet the rumors about just how much they’re paying Fedor Emelianenko.

Atencio told MMA Weekly that reports of Fedor making somewhere between $1.5-2 million to fight for them were “all rumors.”

“It’s a considerable amount of money, but it’s not what everybody says,” Atencio said.

So what is a considerable amount of money? Earlier reports had Tim Sylvia making somewhere in the neighborhood of $800,000. If that’s true, one has to assume that Fedor is getting at least $1 million, especially considering that his asking price has been notoriously high since leaving Pride. Monte Cox recently speculated that Affliction’s fighter payroll for their first show could be the biggest in the history of MMA, and while Atencio didn’t confirm that, he did say that he does not expect the company to turn a profit with their first offering:

“I don’t see how anybody can,” he said. “The only people who are making money in this business are the UFC and Scott Coker with Strikeforce. Do we plan on making money this first show? Absolutely not. The second and third? Hopefully.”

Losing money now to make money later. Such has been the rallying cry of MMA startups from the IFL to Elite XC, and yet that profitable point in the future has eluded both of them so far. It’s like Creedence says, “Someday never comes.” Tell it, brother.

When pressed about recent comments from Gary Shaw to the effect that Affliction would have been better served staying in the clothing business, which is known to be occasionally profitable, and keeping out of the MMA promotion business, which almost never is, Atencio responded with the following hazy logic:

“We’ve been involved in the industry as far as the clothing side of it, and I’ve been personally involved in MMA for over 16 years. I’m a huge fan of the sport so it just makes sense for us at this point.”

I’m sorry, how does that “just make sense”? I fail to see how being involved in something as a clothing manufacturer and fan means that the next logical step is ownership and promotion, along with all the accompanying financial risk. Is that just me?

It’s like the makers of And1 saying that since they make basketball clothing and are basketball fans they should start their own basketball league. Damn. Bad example. Anyway, you see my point.

That’s not to say that the first Affliction show doesn’t look great. The card is truly impressive. But I’d like to know they have better reasons for thinking they can succeed where others have failed, especially when they seem to be spending so much money up front. Better reasons than, you know, being fans and making t-shirts. Would a business plan that includes making more money than you’re spending be too much to ask?

(-Ben Fowlkes)


Cagepotato Comments

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Rob Enderle- May 15, 2008 at 2:35 pm
I have no problem with this being a one and out deal.

Id rather pay money for this card than the reality TV divas that were fed with the UFC.

The IFL sucks, the UFC is unvenly mediocre, WEC has a few interesing fighters, Elite is the image of their star vehicule and the last DREAM was amazing.

SO yeah,,, many people want Affliction to work.

As long as they dont sign Ricco Rodriguez fat gut, this will be a great card.
ksgbobo- May 15, 2008 at 12:01 pm
I have to say as well that I love the caption...hilarious...
Aevilgar- May 15, 2008 at 7:38 am
The card looks good, and it is SHOULD be an exciting show. If it goes down. But I digress...

I'm of the opinion that Affliction should have taken this BOATLOAD of money they are shelling out, and all their extensive connections, and sank that into the IFL. They would have a good portion of control over an already established company (albeit in the pits a little bit just now, but it would turn around), and could stage thier fights there. That would give them access to a larger range of fighters too, instead of making a competing company, which further sepaerates the talent pools.
Foley- May 14, 2008 at 8:21 pm
walrus- May 14, 2008 at 8:05 pm
God, there's an endless number of goofy ass Fedor pictures.

cage porato should make a photo album.
Vrax- May 14, 2008 at 4:46 pm
@Joe Son: yep, hence the "MIGHT make sense". Frankly, as I've mentioned, I think their only hope of long-term viability is to do it one weight class at a time. Sure it's fine if they fill out the undercard with local guys who will put some extra butts in the bleachers, but if they stick to being the destination (to use your term) for heavyweights they mnay have a chance.

I mean, all of US are pretty psyched to spend 45 bucks to watch their first event. Which is more than I can say for any show that a non-ufc organization has put on in quite a while. But unlike other companies in the business they do have an already existing and successful product line.

Knowing how much the clothing sales brings in, they know how much they can afford to lose. Again, that's a singular quality that Affliction has.

It doesn't mean any degree of guaranteed success, but it creates a lot of lead time for them to lose money on MMA promoting while still staying in the black as a company.

Now let's say they are going to fold, well a lot of these guys are under the same management. Do you think that gives Cox's fighters some bargaining power i they want to return to the UFC? Fans are going to want see the Affliction heavyweight champion face the UFC champ down the line. Right?

So what do you all think, does that give the Affliction fighters, Cox's stable etc. a good place to negotiate from, or do you think the UFC the will make them crawl and fight for peanuts?
Armbreaker- May 14, 2008 at 4:42 pm
You would think the money belongs to Ben Fowlkes by the way he is criticizing Affliction. Ben -it's their money. If they want to spend it to put together one of the greatest cards in MMA history, why should we complain? Let's enjoy the show and let Affliction worry about the funds.
JWBIII- May 14, 2008 at 4:40 pm
This article accurately describes what's happening among the executives at Affliction:

The problem is that the MMA market size hasn't been increasing signficantly, but the number of companies trying to compete in the market has.
Aryan- May 14, 2008 at 4:10 pm
(’I am happy to be in your Square of Time! You give me money now, yes?’)...lmao
Old, Bald and Irish- May 14, 2008 at 4:07 pm
I'm completely stoked for the Affliction fight.

That being said, I wouldn't be surprised if this was a one-and-done sorta thing. I'm looking forward to the fight and I will plunk down the cash for the pay-per-view, but future fights? We'll see if they happen. I'm just going to enjoy this one for what it's worth.
Joe Son- May 14, 2008 at 3:29 pm
True, Vrax. But if you have to give away the store to get those heavyweights, and if they don't turn out to be the draw that you're depending on, then you're screwed.
Vrax- May 14, 2008 at 3:21 pm
Maybe if his rationale was "we've got contracts with all the best heavyweight fighters int he world, and I think that gives our brand a distinct advantage over others" it might MIGHT, just make sense.