(Loosely translated it means: ‘Screw this drug-testing stuff, I’m going back to Japan where they know how to treat a brother.’)
The good news for Affliction is that people are talking. Josh Barnett’s failed steroid test and the ensuing media storm has, at the very least, gotten Affliction’s third event in the news. This week Josh Barnett was #73 on the Google Trends list. That put him well behind search topics such as “Michelle Obama haircut” (#29) and “dog takes baby from crib” (#25), but the point is, there’s some buzz now.
The bad news is that the buzz is mostly surrounding the one guy who we know will not be fighting Fedor Emelianenko next weekend. Maybe the interest extends to the panicked search for a new opponent, at least for some people. But who, aside from the hardcores who already know why Brett Rogers would be a sort of okay opponent and Paul Buentello wouldn’t, is willing to pursue it that far?
It’s sort of like when you hear about a sex scandal involving a Congressman. The scandal itself is salacious enough to read up on, and who knows, you might even learn some new pick-up techniques (step 1: get elected to Congress, step 2: offer women green cards and cocaine), but that doesn’t mean you’re going to keep following the story long enough to know or care who replaces the guy when he is forced to resign.
It’s the same with Affliction. The story so far has been about the tremendous blow to their much-hyped main event on their critical third show. That’s not exactly the kind of thing that makes people eager to pony up cash for the pay-per-view, even if it does make more people aware of the existence of such a pay-per-view.
As Affliction VP Tom Atencio repeated on Wednesday’s conference call, his plan has always been to make it to three shows and then decide whether he wants to keep promoting MMA events. Ticket sales and pay-per-view buys for the previous two shows, which both had intact main events, weren’t exactly stellar. Does that mean that Josh Barnett effectively doomed Affliction to remain forever a trilogy when he pissed dirty? And if so, why aren’t MMA fans more pissed off at him?