("Inside MMA" video courtesy of HDNet Fights.)
Watching Josh Barnett’s response to Tom Atencio’s attempt to blame him for the collapse of the mighty Affliction fight promotion empire, what I see is two men who are missing the point. Is Atencio right when he says that Barnett’s positive steroid test was the catalyst for the cancellation of Affliction’s third show? Yes. Is Barnett right when he says that MMA promotions have been through worse and survived, as long as they didn’t make a bunch of terrible business decisions along the way? Absolutely. Does that make either of them less culpable for their own role in all of this? No way.
MMA fans aren’t upset at Barnett because he took Affliction away from them. They’re upset because he was caught trying to cheat. It’s a personal failing, and the more people like you as a person, the more disappointed they get about something like that. Since Barnett has been popped three times for steroid use, he has very little chance of convincing anyone that he’s been wrongly persecuted in this case. If anything, that only makes us wonder how many times he’s gotten away with it.
And no one’s saying Atencio didn’t get dealt a bad hand, but if your MMA promotion can be torpedoed by the loss of one fight then it’s better you get out of the business right away. Have you seen what the UFC has to go through just to put on an event sometimes? Dealing with unforeseeable catastrophes at the last minute is practically the job description for an MMA promoter.
Face it, you both made some bad decisions to get yourselves here. Arguing about who messed up worse just makes you seem like you haven’t learned anything from your own mistakes.