Here’s the UFC’s ad for their anti-Affliction show on July 19, which is now being billed as “UFC: Silva vs. Irvin”. If you think it’s purely a coincidence that they’ve opted to use language like “best fighter on the planet” with reference to a free event featuring Anderson Silva, while meanwhile Fedor Emelianenko fights elsewhere on the same night, then you haven’t been paying attention.
In politics, this would be a great example of using code words to send a message to certain demographics without alienating others. In this scenario, that demographic is hardcore fans, and the message is clear: Anderson Silva is a better pound-for-pound fighter than Fedor, plus our show is free.
For the more casual fans, they also manage to justify showing Chuck Liddell, “Rampage” Jackson, and light heavyweight champ Forrest Griffin (still feels weird to type that) simply by mentioning the “stacked” 205-pound division. Well-played, UFC.
Unless the Affliction pay-per-view numbers exceed all expectations, the UFC can also take credit for torpedoing their event once it’s all over. Something tells me Dana White has his ‘I told you so’ speech ready to go.