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If Fedor Loses, Is Affliction Screwed?

(Dude, Fedor, it clearly says “Do Not Touch”.)

Let’s not kid ourselves, MMA fans. Whatever you think of Tim Sylvia, whatever opinion you may have formed based on reading about him in Matt Hughes‘ autobiography or seeing him on “Blind Date”, the fact remains that he’s a legitimate top heavyweight. He’s big, he’s strong, his overall game has improved dramatically over the last few years, and while he may not always look great doing it, he knows how to win.

So let’s not pretend that this fight on Saturday is a cakewalk for Fedor Emelianenko. Sylvia is a dangerous opponent for anyone, regardless of where they stand in the heavyweight rankings. But we also can’t pretend that Affliction would look at a Sylvia victory the same way they would a Fedor one.

Let’s start with the obvious reason. The biggest fight on the horizon for Affliction right now is Fedor-Couture. There are roadblocks aplenty at the moment, but that doesn’t mean it can’t happen or that it wouldn’t be a difference-maker in their long term viability. But if Sylvia comes out on top, that match instantly loses a lot of its appeal. Gone is Fedor’s aura of invincibility, his mystique, his innate talent for making any fight seem like history in the making.

But that’s not even the biggest problem. If Fedor loses, that means Sylvia wins. That means you’re stuck with him. Then what?

You see, for all his ability in the ring, he’s not the guy you want to be depending on as your main event draw. He doesn’t have the star power, and even though his stock would go up if he defeats Fedor, most fans will more than likely see it as a sign that Fedor was overrated and maybe underprepared. They’re far less likely to hail Sylvia as the world’s best heavyweight because of it, and meanwhile Dana White laughs into his champagne.

It also creates some future matchmaking trouble. You could put Sylvia against Josh Barnett, assuming Barnett and father time are able to team up and overcome Pedro Rizzo. But then you’ve got a guy who isn’t much of a draw against a guy who isn’t much of a draw in the United States (yet).

Of course, there’s always the Andrei Arlovski-Ben Rothwell fight. But Rothwell and Sylvia are teammates, so they probably won’t fight if Rothwell wins (unless it’s for a lot of money). If Arlovski wins, that leaves you with Arlovski-Sylvia IV. Who wants to see that? Their last meeting wasn’t exactly “The Thrilla in Manilla”. If Affliction tries to ride that to big pay-per-view numbers, the UFC can relax and use old Xyience commercials as counter-programming on Spike TV.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I’m saying Tim Sylvia isn’t a legitimate fighter or that he doesn’t deserve the fans’ respect. If he beats Fedor, he’ll definitely have proved something, even if that something is that Fedor is not the unstoppable cyborg from the future he was made out to be.

But this is a numbers game for Affliction. They can sell Fedor. The language barrier and man-on-the-street physique somehow only add to his mystique. He has that special something that people will pay just to get close to. Tim Sylvia doesn’t have it. He has a lot of other qualities, but not that, and he isn’t going to get it overnight.

A Sylvia victory on Saturday night might not be a catastrophe for Affliction, but it won’t seal their success, either. Their future plans look a lot better with a clear-cut Fedor victory. If there’s one thing we’ve learned in the fight game, though, it’s that anything can happen. And that anything is just as likely to be bad as it is good.

(-Ben Fowlkes)

Cagepotato Comments

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fgdsf- July 20, 2008 at 6:21 pm
from t-rev

"you better believe i’ll remember this when the overrated fedor gets beaten by a lackluster sylvia in a boring fight."

tim sylvia launched a jab, missed and lost. 36 seconds.

that match proved that hongman choi is probably better then tim sylvia also. hong is after all k1champion that is so tall its almost impossible to just take him down. he did alot better than sylvia. cant be compared.
T-Rev- July 17, 2008 at 9:44 am
Plain old Kevin says...

"I would not worry about Fedor… he beat Hong Man Choi by sub and that dude is 7?2?"

Hong man Choi is about as good a fighter as my grandma... Right up there with Bob Sapp
ArmChairFighter- July 15, 2008 at 5:13 pm
Yes...Sylvia has skills, as uncoordinated and awkward as they may look. But for him to start getting some main-stream fans, he needs to start by reinventing himself...

First suggestion: Shave that God forsaken beard and start fresh - it is as clumsy as he is.

Second suggestion: "Maine-iac"?? Really??

...then let the PR pros take it from there.
Rob Enderle- July 15, 2008 at 4:12 pm
>My friends and I have watched virtually every UFC PPV for the last 2 1/2 years
>and none of them really give a crap about Fedor.

Ever think your friends are reality TV loving homos?
THeyre not MMA fans, theyre the same kind of fish as the 12 years olds you market boy bands too.
Brand loyalty through mediocre TV does not make MMA fans.

It makes them bandwagon jumping douchebags.

Fuck your friends!

Any of those cocksuckers know who Sakuraba? Probably not. But Im sure they all know Joe Rogan and that bald aerobics instructor.

"Remember when Bobby was mad at Billy and then they wouldnt talk to each other? Im so happy they got that behind them but it made a great build up for the Grappling With The Unknowns finale. That was so cool."
That's what builds your loyalty: bad high school drama.

Man, do I feel like taking a 2x4 to your friends heads.
Plain old Kevin- July 15, 2008 at 1:36 pm
Well there are about 7 billion in the world and only 300 mil in the US. We have to be pretty arrogant to believe that Affliction cannot succeed all over the world if they wanted to. I was always a bigger UFC fan, but I do respect what Pride did. The UFC cannot house all of the fighters in the world. There will always be fighters in others orgs that have fans. Ben is completely correct. If Tim wins then they may have some problems. I would not worry about Fedor... he beat Hong Man Choi by sub and that dude is 7'2". Just saying Tim Sylvia makes me sleepy. zzzzzz...zzzzzzz
the glza- July 15, 2008 at 4:14 am
silvia in the first, ref stoppage, probably a flurry of strikes, maybe gnp

i will still be a fan of fedor's, but i feel... i don't know, a disturbance in the force...
John- July 15, 2008 at 2:46 am
Well its true that Fedor isn't known in the US that well as Sylvia, but if he win's he'll draw a little more attention. Plus the WORLD knows FEDOR, It's like Football/Soccer, most of the US might not appreciate it but the World does. And hey even if the PPV is for the US. the world would be watching regardless via internet etc.

So perhaps affliction can hold its cards in Europe and make good money there if the US card doesnt pan out.
Jeff- July 15, 2008 at 2:30 am
I hope Fedor understands how much pressure is on him and he comes in at 100%.

It would take about 75% Fedor to take Tim Sylvia.
shutupandfight- July 15, 2008 at 12:07 am
Q: what sound would you hear if rothwell and silvia fought and their fat asses collided in the middle of the ring? A: a resounding DOOSH!
fedor- July 15, 2008 at 12:02 am
with jews you lose
perkedel- July 14, 2008 at 11:07 pm
Another crap article as usual due to a slow day. Fedor by armbar!
DonnyG- July 14, 2008 at 10:01 pm
There is no possible way that Fedor is more well known, in the US, where affliction is trying to sell PPVs. Nobody outside of the hardcore MMA fans has any clue who he is. MMA blew up about 2 1/2 years ago with TUF. Few of the TUF generation of fans know or care who Fedor is. You may think that that fact is a travesty but its true.

On the other hand most people who know who Silvia is generally hate him. So its kind of a lose lose scenario.
ADW- July 14, 2008 at 9:59 pm
Donny G you should get new friends. Tim Sylvia is a big douchebag People hate him because people don't like douchebags. His personality, his fighting style and his face just turn people away. Tim Sylvia is THE only person I know of that is an ex champion with a crapload of knockouts and is still a fucking laughing stock. he is 6ft 10 bag of shit plain and simple.

Don't think I have anything against the big guy. I have tried to appreciate him as a fighter but he is such a big dumb bastard. When Minotauro choked Tim Sylvia I swear it was like christmas... I was that happy.

And for the last time, Fedor is not overrated. I can't see how anybody can logically come to that conclusion.
true- July 14, 2008 at 9:49 pm
not taking away from the fact that sylvia's goofy ass has put away some decent fighters, fedor is a machine. people who doubt him dont know what MMA is really about.
MMANewbExpert- July 14, 2008 at 9:47 pm
This site is hilarious. That's the reason I got into it and that's the reason I keep coming back. I watched MMA for years before I visited any websites, other then which is a piece of garbage. I didn't even have a lot of friends or co-workers who were into MMA so I just kept my thoughts to myself. Then I found this site and all the funny thoughts I had in my head about Cecil People's, Tim Sylvia, Herb Dean and all that were on this site already. These guys crack me up. This posting was funny and a good read.

Sorry for the slurpage but it's true.
just youtube fedor vs. nog 3- July 14, 2008 at 9:43 pm
anyone who says "fedor is over-rated" has never seen him fight. anyone who says "fedor isnt as well known as sylvia" probably still thinks that chuck liddell is the end-all be-all of MMA. for anyone who doubts the fact that tim sylvia is in for the toughest fight of his career, you just dont know what the hell you are talking about as far as MMA goes.
DonnyG- July 14, 2008 at 9:38 pm
My friends and I have watched virtually every UFC PPV for the last 2 1/2 years and none of them really give a crap about Fedor. I try and tell them but they don't care about a guy they haven't ever seen fight. And they all pretty much hate Sylvia. Which is why Affliction is gonna lose their ass in this fight.

Ben is right on the money though Affliction needs Fedor to win in order to keep having dream match ups. Fedor/Arlovski and Fedor/Coture.

They are screwed either way but if Silvia wins they are super-screwed.
T-Rev- July 14, 2008 at 9:34 pm
@ martymarta - you better believe i'll remember this when the overrated fedor gets beaten by a lackluster sylvia in a boring fight.
Boneman- July 14, 2008 at 9:05 pm
@ Ron

Sorry Pal....But if someone knows who Sylvia is, but has no idea who Fedor is...Well that person has been watching to much "Dancing with the Stars" and has no idea what is happening in the world of MMA or any combat sport at that!
The Survivalist- July 14, 2008 at 9:00 pm
Fedor will win. 100% for shizzle!
HB Beachbum- July 14, 2008 at 8:51 pm
Excellent article Ben, good insight to what Affliction may/ may not be able to offer in the future.

But why...why does everyone hate on Big Tim? (you didn't hate, but you didn't love'em either) I like the guy. I think he definitely deserves a scrap session with Fedor. I became a fan of Tim ever since he KO'd Tra Telligman. Now, beating Tra might not have really meant anything, but I thought it was an entertaining fight an I have been rootin for the big man ever since.

I’ve heard people say he’s boring…now what about his bouts with The Pit Bull? The 3rd, I admit, I was really lookin for something more from the dude. But in the 2nd scrap, Tim gets knocked down (almost KO'd!), get's up and KO's Arlovski something like 30 seconds later, talk about brass balls man.... or what about his fight against the Human Pretzel Making Machine that is Jeff Monson? An I don't wanna hear how Tim is 37 feet taller than the Snowman either... Monson closed the distance on Tim on two different occasions in an attempt to have Sylvia in a position that worked more to his strength and paid for it by nearly getting submitted himself.

Congrats to Tim, hope it works out for you man…. Too bad I won’t be watchin you though… UFN is free mothabiatches!
Eveboy420- July 14, 2008 at 8:41 pm
LMAO wouldnt a Kimbo type fix, Be funny as hell?
sol- July 14, 2008 at 8:37 pm
so i was chatting to one of my mates who was talking about the silva vs irvin card and i was saying i was more excited about the affliction card.

He said they make nice t-shirts. So i linked him the card and he basically read off all the guys who used to fight in the ufc and didn't recognise any other guys.

He also said "they seem to be fighting in a wrestling" i just face-palmed and told him to forget about it.
martymarta- July 14, 2008 at 8:24 pm
@ Ron - you are off base. If you watch MMA and don't know about Fedor you need to pull your head out of your ass mister.
2ndly, Fedor isn't going to lose. There's no way. IF he loses I'll do the 1-gallon milk challenge and film myself puking it all back up and post it here. It just won't happen.
Vrax- July 14, 2008 at 8:14 pm
@brad, I was stating my opinion, not relaying any information. I'm interested in why you feel that looking at future matches is a bad thing, though. Care to elaborate?

We'll use your example, Florian//Huerta; how is it bad to think about the winner getting a title shot? For me it just adds to the hype leading up to their fight that there is even more on the line than just winning and losing.

I'm not some internet fuckmitten that wants to argue and flame, and maybe you can point out something that I'm missing here. Where's the detriment to the sport in looking at future matches?