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Affliction Not Going Out On The Divine Wind After All

(When you want to get rid of a bunch of cash in a hurry, but don’t want to deal with the smoky mess that comes along with literally burning it, nothing beats starting up your own MMA organization.)

After rumors spread that Affliction III might possibly try to counter-program UFC 100 on July 11, Affliction’s Tom Atencio is now publicly disavowing any intention to go out kamikaze-style in a blaze of bitterly self-destructive glory.  Atencio said earlier reports that he might try and get his third event on free TV the same night as the UFC’s historic event were nonsense, adding: “In my eyes, it’s not even a possibility. It doesn’t make sense."

That’s true, Tom.  It doesn’t make sense.  But neither does paying Tim Sylvia $800,000, or even bothering to put on a third show if the main event won’t be Fedor Emelianenko vs. Josh Barnett.  So when will the third Affliction event happen, assuming there is one?  Atencio basically admits that he has no idea, which is hardly surprising. 

But wait a minute, what if this is all a clever ploy?  What if Atencio has figured out that every time he announces an event the UFC finds some way to screw with him?  Maybe this time he’s going to outsmart them.  He won’t even announce when Affliction III is.  It will just happen in the middle of the night on a Tuesday.  No prior warning at all.  Even the fighters won’t know where or when it will be.  They’ll be taken from their homes, blindfolded, and then dropped off at the arena an hour before fight time.  Imagine what a fool Dana White will feel like when he wakes up the next morning and realizes he’s been outfoxed by the t-shirt guy.

You tricky devil, Tom Atencio.  We never knew you had it in you.


Is Affliction Going Kamikaze to Screw with UFC 100?

(Whaddaya say, Baby Face, feel like taking a pay cut and burning some bridges?)

According to FiveOuncesofPain, Affliction is looking at holding their third event on July 11, 2009.  If you’re thinking that this date sounds familiar for some reason, congratulations, you are an astute observer!  Yeah, July 11 is when UFC 100 is.  And it’s kind of a big deal to the UFC.  So why would Affliction guarantee that their event gets counter-programmed by scheduling it on the same night as one of the biggest UFC cards ever?  Possibly because they know they’re done and want to hurt the UFC however they can on the way out.

That’s what Sam Caplan thinks, anyway.  According to his report Affliction is offering “restructured” contracts to their fighters (read: asking them to fight cheap) in the hopes of lowering overhead costs and getting the event on network TV or basic cable.  They know that no pay-per-view distributor wants to go head to head with the UFC, but if they can offer their show up for free they figure it might hurt the UFC’s PPV buys just a little, and what the hell, Affliction isn’t looking to promote any events after this one anyway.


Fact Check: Dana White Predicts 1.2 Million Buys for UFC 91, But Is That Just Crazy Talk?

(If Dana is right, Jack Link’s Beef Jerky is about to get their money’s worth.)

UFC president Dana White appeared on ESPN First Take today (thanks to our friends at MMA Fanhouse for the heads up) to talk UFC 91, and it seems he isn’t backing down from his earlier prediction that this event would do over a million pay-per-view buys. This time White got even more specific with his figures:

“We think it’s going to be the biggest pay-per-view draw in UFC history,” White said. “We think we’re going to do 1.2 million buys on this fight. It’s a big fight, the WWE cross-over for this fight, a lot of WWE fans are going to tune in to see if their former wrestling champion can win in a real fight. Vince McMahon might even buy this fight.”

One hopes that White is relying on some kind of consumer research, as he has claimed in the past, and not just spouting off a number. But 1.2 million buys, in the midst of a recession? That’s the kind of claim that makes me want to call ‘shenanigans,’ as the kids say.

The shakiest part of this logic is the dependence on the curiosity of the WWE crossover audience, especially the portion of that audience that typically passes on buying UFC events. This is Brock Lesnar‘s third UFC fight. Granted, it’s his biggest one yet, but only fans who follow the UFC enough to realize the importance of Randy Couture appreciate that.

To the casual WWE fan that White is depending on, isn’t this just another Brock Lesnar fight? And if these WWE fans are so eager to see Lesnar in a real fight, wouldn’t they have been just as willing to pay for his first big fight against Frank Mir?


CBS Foots the Bill, Cashes the Checks

(‘CBS, man, let me hold twenty bucks.’)

We all knew that CBS was getting more and more involved with EliteXC’s possibly illegal operations, but according to a recent SEC filing (dug up by the intrepid lads at MMA Payout) they are now officially bankrolling entire events. At least, that’s what they did with the Oct. 4 show after EliteXC told them they were “unable to deliver” the event under the current terms of the agreement:

Accordingly, the Company and CBS agreed to amend the Agreement whereby CBS would assume all expenses for the event and receive all revenue from the event. CBS advanced the estimated event costs according to an agreed upon budget in order for the Company to pay expenses related to the event. Additionally, the Company and CBS waived mutual exclusivity under the Agreement for the Sunrise Event.

So not only is CBS paying the cost to put on EliteXC events, they’re also taking all the revenue and dropping it straight into their coffers. Now, I’m no financial expert, but isn’t this basically the same as the relationship between a pimp and a prostitute? CBS funds the operation. EliteXC puts on the show. Then EliteXC has to give all the money to daddy. In return, maybe CBS buys EliteXC something shiny and pretty at the mall on Sunday.

I know that relationship is as old as civilization itself, but it doesn’t sound like such a good deal if you’re EliteXC.


More Affliction: Atencio Says Not Postponing, Just Rescheduling, Hints at Announcement This Weekend

(Photo courtesy of Combat Lifestyle.)

In an attempt to make Affliction’s decision to, let’s just say not go through with their planned October 11 event in Las Vegas, company VP Tom Atencio is getting specific about the semantics involved. You see, they aren’t canceling their event. Everyone knows that’s a bad sign for an MMA company. And they aren’t postponing it, either. Again, another bad sign. No, it’s nothing like that.

Atencio explains it all to MMA Weekly:

“We’re not canceling it, we’re not postponing it, we’re rescheduling it completely,” he said. “It doesn’t make sense to do it where we wanted to do it, it’s a positive.”


“It was a business decision. We came out strong, and we want to continue with that momentum and continue strong. We don’t want to come out and be weak and have to give tickets away. We want to continue to be a force in this industry.”


“From a business standpoint, we don’t want to lose money,” he said. “We want to be here long term. It’s a wise choice. This is definitely a positive.”

So they scheduled an event, paid for a Nascar sponsorship and a Times Square billboard touting the date, then couldn’t sell any tickets. So what did they do? They scheduled it again, for a different time and place. They re-scheduled it. Completely different than postponing or canceling.

Atencio also said there would be an announcement about the company’s future during the Marquez-Casamayor boxing match this Saturday, while Affliction COO Michael Cohen has been more vague, promising an announcement “within two weeks” and saying a press conference would take place at Trump Towers in New York City.

Could this big announcement have something to do with a boxing co-promotion? Or absolutely nothing to do with boxing? Will we continue to play this guessing game until someone comes up with some answers? Where’s Waldo!? Who’s on first?!? Gaaah!


Elite XC Gets All IFL, Cancels Sept. 20 Event

If there’s a worse sign for an MMA company than canceling a scheduled event just over a month out, we don’t want to know about it. Neither does Elite XC. The Fight Network is reporting that the organization has canceled their planned September 20 event in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Not postponed. Not rescheduled. Straight-up canceled. They still have plans for an October 4 show on CBS, so this is far from a death knell for Elite XC, but it’s not something to celebrate, either.

There’s no official word just yet on exactly why the event is being canceled, but it would seem to be at least partially related to their troubles putting together the somewhat baffling Jake Shields-John Alessio bout. After all the hype around Shields on the last CBS show, it didn’t seem to make much sense to give John Alessio a crack at his title. Add to that the fact that Alessio said the fight was too soon for him to reasonably take, and what you have is a non-bout and a non-event.

Poor Elite XC. Maybe this is the best thing for them at the moment. Their fighter stable is already a little thin, and when you try to stage a show every month you only make things more difficult. Focusing all their efforts on the October 4 CBS show is probably the best idea.

Who knows, maybe this will even improve the chances of Elite XC allowing Shields to take on Matt Lindland in Affliction. Don’t hold your breath, though. We worry about you when you do that.


Get Used to Dana White’s Video Blog

In the interest of finishing what we’ve started in regards to this whole Dana White UFC 87 video blog business, here’s the closing entry. We get to see some of White’s fight night routine, which includes a fair amount of smokin’ and jokin’ (no actual smoking occurs) backstage with Rampage Jackson. We also hear once more about White’s enthusiasm for the city of Minneapolis, also known as “no bullshit, America’s best-kept secret.” And here I thought our best-kept secret was The Trail of Tears.

In case you’re sitting there all weepy-eyed over this little experiment in “vlogging” having come to an end, have no fear. Dana White vows that they’re going to start doing this before every event. Looks like someone has been won over by the power of the internets.