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Tag: Andrei Arlovski

Golden Boy Hopes Affliction Will Be Its Key to MMA Fans, HBO “Respectfully Declines” Arlovski-Barnett

(‘How’s taste my co-promotion clusterfuck?’)

The more we hear about the Affliction/Golden Boy partnership, the stranger it begins to sound. First there was the official press release, which seemed to put more emphasis on “signature shirts” and apparel than on fights. It’s almost as if Affliction is looking for a way to retreat with dignity from the money-sucking void of fight promotion and get back to what they do best: selling overpriced, hyper-stylized clothing.

But aside from their own line of skull-themed t-shirts, what does Golden Boy get out of it? According to CEO Richard Schaefer, they hope to siphon off some of MMA’s young fan base and bring them back into the boxing fold:

“We believe Affliction and the relationships they have with that demographic, the identification they have within that demographic group I think will help bring boxing to these people,” said the Golden Boy CEO. “We think as well, many of the mixed martial arts fans are fans of combat sports, and what they’ve seen of boxing is a very exciting sport as well that maybe they will discover their love for the sport of boxing.”

Naturally, Affliction VP Tom Atencio hopes for the same thing in the other direction, which should tell Golden Boy something (as should those Vegas ticket sales) about just how much of an MMA fan base they may have to draw from. But in theory, at least, it sounds like an idea that can work. That is, if you get the right fights in front of the right audiences. Already things are off to a slow start. reports that Golden Boy tried to sell HBO on the idea of adding the original “Day of Reckoning” main event — Andrei Arlovski vs. Josh Barnett — to the Oct. 18 pay-per-view boxing bout between Kelly Pavlik and Bernard Hopkins. HBO “respectfully declined.”


Affliction Is Learning Why It’s So Hard to Go into the UFC’s Town

(Times Square, meet “The Pitbull” and “The Baby-Faced Assassin.”)

The dispute between the UFC and Randy Couture may be over, but the one between the UFC and Affliction still rages on. After telling reporters that he would be “fucking horrified” to see Affliction still in business in 2009, Dana White may be trying to speed their demise as Affliction heads to Las Vegas for its October 11 event. According to VP Tom Atencio, Affliction is being hindered by the UFC in their Sin City efforts:

“They’ve been messing with me every step of the way,” Atencio said. “There have been issues that I’ve been dealing with. So I can’t say it’s them, but there’s been things we’ve been dealing with that have never happened before, so I guess that’s why.”

Atencio didn’t specifically list how the UFC was messing with him, but when the IFL attempted to break into the Vegas market, they faced radio stations that wouldn’t air their ads and marketing groups who refused to work with them. The rumor was that the UFC had threatened any ad networks or radio stations who cooperated with their competition, suggesting that they’d lose out on much greater business in the future from the UFC.

Affliction could be facing some of those same problems, or worse, as they try to drum up interest in their live event. Ticket sales were a major boon for their first show, but if they can’t get that same level of fan support for this effort they’ll be forced to rely on pay-per-view revenue, which could very well be weaker than their first show due to the lack of Fedor Emelianenko‘s star power. That may be why they’re shelling out the dough for a Times Square billboard, hoping that PPV buys will save them even if no one shows up to the live event.

(Props: Steve Cofield)


Tom Atencio is Happy for Randy Couture, Really

(One is the loneliest number. Photo courtesy of Combat Lifestyle.)

With Randy Couture going back to his ex to try and work things out, this has to be a tough time for Affliction. They thought there was a real connection there, maybe a future between them. They even carved ‘Affliction + Randy Couture’ in the big tree out back. You have any idea how long it takes to carve all that with a pocket knife?

Then, out of the blue, Couture is back in the UFC’s arms and they’re as happy as ever. But Affliction VP Tom Atencio isn’t upset that the biggest fight they could possibly make is now impossible any time in the near future:

“Randy needs to do what he needs to do to handle his problems,” Atencio said. “I’m happy for him.”

“I think the biggest problem is people assume everything,” Atencio said. “The bottom line is Randy is our partner with Xtreme Couture. Randy is sponsored by Affliction. He’s been with us and we work with him. Randy needs to handle his legal problems with the UFC and he did so I am happy for him.”

That’s the spirit, stiff upper lip. You’ve still got Josh Barnett and Andrei Arlovski to put against Fedor. All is not lost. But what about Dana White’s assertion that he would be “fucking horrified” if Affliction is still in the MMA biz in 2009? Them’s fightin’ words!

Or not:

“Dana has his right to his opinion and he is very open about it and that is completely fine,” Atencio said calmly. “Since day one, I have always handled things this way. I don’t need to bite my tongue because I don’t need to talk shit about people.”

Man, I can’t believe I’m going to say this, but I almost miss Gary Shaw. At the very least, can’t Atencio have a son who will go flying off the handle from time to time? Is that too much to ask?


Must See: Arlovski’s Debut, Morais Pwns 32-Man Tournament

Some classic MMA goodness from the ’90s: First off is Andrei Arlovski’s unsuccessful pro MMA debut against Viacheslav Datsik (above), which went down in St. Petersburg, Russia, at the M-1 MFC World Championship on 4/9/1999; props to MMA Fight Girls for digging up the video. Fight starts at the 2:11 mark, and the Pitbull gets put to sleep about six minutes later. Arlovski would return to the cage a year later at the M-1 MFC European Championship, where he smoked Michael Tielrooy and Roman Zentsoz in a four-man bracket and caught the attention of the UFC.

Below is an absolutely insane video of Absolute Fighting Championship 1, a one-day, 32-man vale tudo tournament — yes, 32-man tournament — that took place in Moscow on 9/25/1995. Enormous future PRIDE fighter Ricardo “The Mutant” Morais made his MMA debut that day, stopping four opponents via strikes (all in less than two minutes apiece), before choking out Mikhail Illoukhine in the final. I guarantee it’ll be the most hardcore thing you see all week.


Exclusive: Rothwell-Rizzo Officially Set for Affliction: Day of Reckoning

Ben Rothwell Affliction MMA

Ben Rothwell confirmed today that he will face Pedro Rizzo on the next Affliction show in Las Vegas on October 11. The bout has been officially signed, Rothwell told, though it was agreed to on separate terms from his original contract, which means he will be taking a pay cut for this fight but still has two more fights at the previous rate on his existing contract with Affliction.

“[Agent] Monte [Cox] turned down their original offer for this fight, so that’s why he said none of his guys would be fighting on the show. Then they came back with another offer that was better, so we agreed to it,” Rothwell said.

Fighting a legend of the sport like Rizzo is something Rothwell says he’s ambivalent about, however.

“With Pedro, I not only respect his abilities, I watched him as a kid just getting into this sport. He’s one of the most down-to-earth, nicest guys in this sport, so on that level I don’t really want to fight him. But the fighter in me is amped for this. I’m going to go out there and do what I didn’t do against Andrei Arlovski.”

Rothwell said that he spoke with Rizzo at their first Affliction show and they both sensed that they may face each other next.

“I said I was going to ask for Buentello,” said Rothwell. “Then he said he was going to ask for Buentello. And Tim [Sylvia] also asked for Buentello.”

Rothwell criticized a report to the effect that he might face K-1 kickboxer “Mighty Mo” Siliga as completely false, adding that Siliga hadn’t ever been mentioned as a potential opponent.


Pedro Rizzo-Ben Rothwell for Affliction: Day of Reckoning?

Fresh off their respective losses at Affliction: Banned, Ben Rothwell and Pedro Rizzo will square off at the next Affliction event in Las Vegas on October 11, according to MMA Mania. If true, this goes against Monte Cox’s claim that Rothwell would sit this one out. It would also add another interesting match-up to a fight card that’s already brimming with them.

Rothwell-Rizzo is a good match for finding out exactly where both these guys stand in their careers. A Rothwell victory would confirm the sneaking suspicion that he should be taken seriously in the heavyweight division, while a loss to Rizzo would likely mean his removal from the top ten until further notice.

For Rizzo, a win means he can make a compelling case to keep fighting and a loss means he can’t. As great as “The Rock” was in his time and as deserving as he is of a spot among MMA’s forefathers, he can’t hang around forever. A knockout loss to Josh Barnett is nothing to be ashamed of, nor would a loss to Rothwell necessarily be a career-ender. But at Rizzo’s age (34), it would hardly be encouraging.

- In slightly related news, fellow ex-IFL fighter and Quad Cities Silverbacks team member Bart Palaszewski has signed with Zuffa to compete in the WEC. “Bartimus” (laziest nickname ever?) reportedly signed a six-fight deal and plans to be ready for action in September.


Kelly Kobold Confirms Gina Carano Bout, WAMMA Confirms “Elimination Fight”

(They grow ‘em sturdy in Minnesota.)

On this week’s edition of MMA Rated Radio Ariel Helwani and I talk with female MMA fighter Kelly Kobold, who confirmed that she will be facing Gina Carano in Elite XC on CBS in October. This, despite the fact that Kobold is coming off two straight losses and “Cyborg” Santos waits in the wings after her downright frightening performance at “Unfinished Business”. Perhaps it helps that Kobold has been openly critical of Carano’s inability to make weight. She even refers to interviews where Gina has been asked about it and instead of answering, “evaded the question and went on to spout some patriotic crap.” We also discuss UFC 87, Affliction’s newest signings, and other stuff. Check it out here.

In other news, WAMMA sent out a press release today announcing the Josh Barnett-Andrei Arlovski match as an “elimination fight” with the winner taking on Fedor Emelianenko for the WAMMA heavyweight title. I guess they’re assuming that Fedor won’t defect to the UFC with their title in order to face Randy Couture.

In case you’re wondering, Barnett is ranked third by WAMMA and Arlovski moved up to fourth with his win over Ben Rothwell. You can probably guess who number two is (hint: he’s in the Rob Schneider clip below, and it isn’t Bob Sapp or Don Frye).


It’s Official: Barnett vs. Arlovski @ “Day of Reckoning”

Affliction MMA Barnett Arlovski Day of Reckoning
(Mmmm, apocalyptic…)

After a Long Beach Press-Telegram article confirmed that Affliction’s next event would be headlined by a heavyweight bout between Josh Barnett (23-5) and Andrei Arlovski (13-5), the t-shirt company put up a home page for the October 11th card — named “Day of Reckoning” — which will be held at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas. An exclusive ticket presale for “Affliction customers” begins Wednesday; tickets can be bought here.

Besides that reported bout between Matt Lindland and Vitor Belfort, the only thing we know about the lineup at this point is that Fedor won’t be on it. Though the absence of Affliction’s best fighter is unfortunate, Emelianenko still isn’t a proven pay-per-view draw in the U.S., and if Affliction can quickly get their hands on someone who is — Tito Ortiz, in a best-case scenario — then “Reckoning” should be able to out-perform “Banned.” We’ll keep you updated as the card comes together.

But speaking of Fedor, you wanna hear something totally freakin’ wild?


No Fedor for Affliction 2?

Fedor Emelianenko shrugged off his injured thumb following his thirty-six second demolition of Tim Sylvia at Affliction: Banned, but now a hand injury has his next Affliction bout against Andrei Arlovski in doubt. Five Ounces of Pain is reporting that Fedor is off the October 11 card and that instead we’ll see Josh Barnett step in to take his place.

Barnett made a ripple in the MMA news pond earlier this week when he said he would not take a pay cut for his next Affliction bout, as VP Tom Atencio hinted that he may ask the fighters to do. If Barnett is going to be the main event savior for Affliction, you can bet he’s going to insist on being paid like one, especially now that he knows Tim Sylvia is walking around with $800,000 in his pocket.

Losing Fedor for their second show could turn out to be an interesting test for Affliction. If they can still draw without their main attraction, the organization might have some legs. If they can’t, the outlook becomes grim. Very grim.


Fedor vs. Arlovski at Affliction 2 (Oct. 11, Las Vegas)

Fedor Emelianenko MMA Affliction
(The Last Emperor knows how to rock a Canadian Tuxedo.)

Yahoo! Sports passes along the big news: Affliction will be having its second event on October 11th at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, featuring a main event heavyweight brawl between Fedor Emelianenko and Andrei Arlovski. No other matches are announced at this time.

Emelianenko has fought at the Thomas & Mack before, submitting Mark Coleman at PRIDE 32, which was held at the arena in October 2006. Without a doubt it will chap the ass of Dana White for Affliction to be holding an event in his backyard, and a counter-programming show would seem to be out of the question as well, as the UFC already has events planned on October 18th (UFC 89) and October 25th (UFC 90).

As suggested before, Affliction following up its debut event in less than three months is crucial to its momentum, and the timing in relation to the UFC’s events is perfect. You couldn’t ask for a better main event, though I’m a little surprised that Josh Barnett isn’t being thrown at Fedor first; from a marketing standpoint, American vs. Russian beats Russian vs. Belarusian, and MMA fans have been begging for a Barnett/Emelianenko showdown since their tenures in PRIDE.

More details to come…