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Tag: HBO

Michael Buffer and Bruce Buffer Profiled on HBO’s ‘Real Sports’ [Video Preview]


(“There was a writer that did a story, and he said ‘Michael’s like a fine bottle of Bordeaux, and Bruce is like a shot of Jack Daniels.’ And I love that.” Props: HBO Sports)

Tomorrow’s episode of Real Sports With Bryant Gumbel will include a segment on the two most recognizable voices in combat sports — who just happen to be half-brothers. Boxing announcer Michael Buffer and the UFC’s “Veteran Voice of the Octagon” Bruce Buffer didn’t meet each other until adulthood, but went on to develop a very unique and successful business partnership. Check out a preview of Tuesday’s Real Sports feature above, and tune in tomorrow if you can about that sort of thing.

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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.

ESPN.com 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.”

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Affliction Could Hook Up with Golden Boy, But HBO Prospects Look Dim


(Is Golden Boy ready to get in the game?)

The trouble with announcing that you’re about to make a big announcement is that people start chipping away at it, trying to spoil your surprise. It’s been less than twenty-four hours since Affliction “rescheduled” its October 11 event, and the rumors are flying. COO Michael Cohen told NBC Sports that he expected Fedor Emelianenko to be added to the event, now back at the Honda Center in January, but who would he face?

Reached for comment earlier today, Cohen told me he wasn’t sure yet whether Fedor would face “Andrei Arlovski or someone else.” When asked where that left Josh Barnett, he replied, “or Josh Barnett.”

In other words, Fedor will fight the always-formidable ‘TBA’ for Affliction in January, but that’s obviously not the big announcement. Rumor has it that it more likely involves a partnership of some sort with Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions. You may recall that Golden Boy was said to be on board back in the beginning, but supposedly dropped out after the announcement was made prematurely before issues of control were completely ironed out.

Affliction isn’t making that mistake again. When asked about a potential Golden Boy partnership or co-promotion, Cohen said he could not “confirm or deny” those rumors. He offered the same response when asked whether this might open the door for them to land a deal with HBO, although HBO seems to be rejecting that notion outright, according to Director of Media Relations, Kevin Flaherty:

“HBO is not in discussions with any MMA organization presently. Our sports programming plate is full.”

For now Golden Boy seems like the frontrunner for this big announcement, but what will that mean for Affliction? A possible MMA/boxing venture, or just some promotional and financial aid? Affliction is tight-lipped for the moment, not wanting to ruin the surprise, but Cohen assured us, ““When we make the announcement the reasons for this will all be self-evident.”

MMA fans have heard that one before, as Cohen acknowledged.

“The difference is,” he said, “we’re not just announcing a toy line.”

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Get Some Perspective: Ken Shamrock’s Last Victory

(Props: MMA Scraps)

The year was 2004. Britney Spears was still skinny and childless. “Deadwood” had just premiered on HBO. Janet Jackson sparked controversy by showing the world her wonderful, glorious nipple during the Super Bowl XXXVIII halftime show. It was a different time, a simpler time.

It was also the last time Ken Shamrock’s hand was raised in MMA victory, after a TKO via knee 1:26 into round one against Kimo Leopoldo at UFC 48: Payback. On the same fight card, Frank Mir broke Tim Sylvia’s arm, and a little-known fighter by the name of Georges St. Pierre knocked out Jay Hieron on the undercard.

Now here we are, four years (and, for Shamrock, five straight losses) later, and “The World’s Most Dangerous Man” is preparing to headline a fight on CBS against Kimbo Slice, a former backyard brawler now trained by Bas Rutten. If that’s possible, just imagine where we’ll be four years from now. The world is indeed a strange and inscrutable place.

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Dana White Talks Failed HBO Deal with Playboy

The good people at famed gentleman’s magazine Playboy have an interview with UFC prez Dana White in their September issue (which drops Friday, August 15) and one of the more interesting nuggets to come out of it are White’s remarks on what torpedoed the HBO deal:

“I pulled the plug at the 23rd hour. HBO was pi**ed off… I would have had to sell out, literally. They would have owned the UFC… I took meetings with HBO’s boxing guys. I’ll tell you, if I had to hear one more time about how many fu**ing Emmys they had won, I was going to dive out the window. I said ‘You won a bunch of Emmys, but I’m kicking your a** on pay-per-view.”

Awesome. Do I believe Dana White actually said that to HBO executives? Not really, but it’s still a good story. As much as people criticized him for not making the HBO deal happen, you have to respect his desire to maintain his autonomy, even if it means not blowing up big time with HBO’s Emmy factory.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a Dana White interview if he didn’t bash Tito Ortiz:

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Quick Hits: Winky Wright Telling It Like It Is, Affliction Wants Chris Horodecki


(‘You’re looking at Don King’s hair behind me, aren’t you? Man, every damn time.’)

In an interview with MMAmemories.com, Winky Wright diagnoses boxing’s problem by contrasting it with what MMA is doing right:

“When I was coming up, more top fighters fought each other. They all wanted to prove they were the best in their weight class, not in the WBA, the IBF, but the best, period. But now the promoters and the networks get in the way and we’re losing a lot of fans because of it. The promoters milk the prospects, they don’t match them against top fighters. The networks allow too many easy fights.”

“I would definitely say (boxing is) declining as the best are not fighting the best. In the NBA they don’t just cancel the playoffs and have the Lakers against some sorry team. No one would watch. That’s why the UFC is gaining so much in popularity. The best fight the best and the fans love to see it.”

Winky is spot on, here. It just makes you wonder if we shouldn’t be interpreting this as a cautionary tale.

- In other news, Sherdog.com is reporting that Chris Horodecki has been officially released from the IFL, at his request, and is entertaining a couple different offers at the moment. The cockeyed financial optimists at the AFL have supposedly made a “very generous offer” (they know he’s not a woman, right?), but Affliction has said they’ll beat it in order to get “The Polish Hammer” on their October 11 show. The clock’s ticking…

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