Snapshot courtesy of Affliction Entertainment.
Tom Atencio, president of Affliction MMA, has confirmed reports that Josh Barnett has been forced to withdraw from his Aug. 1st bout with Fedor Emelianenko.
Atencio spoke with AOL’s MMA FanHouse where he said, “He tested positive for a banned substance. The athletic commission will not reinstate his license. Him and Fedor is off.”
Bobby Lashley. Photo courtesy of World Wrestling Entertainment.
Upstart boxing promotion Prize Fight Promotions has teamed up with local Mississippi mixed martial arts promoters Fight Force International to put on quite the MMA event in Biloxi, Mississippi on June 27. The show will be headlined by an intriguing (to say the least) heavyweight bout between former professional wrestler Bobby Lashley and PRIDE and K-1 veteran Bob Sapp.
There are plenty of other notable bouts on the card as well. Dangerous strikers Gilbert Yvel and Pedro Rizzo will clash following their respective losses to Josh Barnett in recent Affliction show in the co-main event. Din Thomas will take on fellow longtime veteran Javier Vasquez, who is coming out of a temporary retirement, in a featherweight bout, and former IFL lightweight standout Chris Horodecki will face William Sriyapai.
Even Affliction VP Tom Atencio is on the card. (For those who are unaware, Atencio already has a pro fight under his belt. He earned a decision over David Martinez at Total Combat 7 in January 2005)
The current lineup for the event is below. Not all of the fights have been officially signed as of yet and more details regarding the event are expected to come at a press conference in Biloxi in two weeks. The event will be televised on IN DEMAND and Direct TV PPV.
Bobby Lashley vs. Bob Sapp
Pedro Rizzo vs. Gilbery Yvel
Chris Horodecki vs. William Sriyapai
Din Thomas vs. Javier Vasquez
Brett Cooper vs. Waachim Spiritwolf
Tom Atencio vs. TBA
James Orso vs. Colby McMahan
Affliction Entertainment Vice President Tom Atencio denied rumors over the weekend that his promotion was intending on countering the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s historic “UFC 100” event with a show of their own on July 11.
In comments made to MMAJunkie.com at Strikeforce’s “Shamrock vs. Diaz” show on Saturday night, Atencio stated that Affliction will not be putting on an event on the same date despite continual talk that the organization would be anyway.
“That’s all rumors, and that’s just what people think,” Atencio said in a recent article. “In my eyes, it’s not even a possibility. It doesn’t make sense.”
If you’ve been circling the MMA blogsophere within the last two hours, you’ll have surely noticed a rumor floating around that Affliction Entertainment is on the verge of no longer promoting MMA events after a third and final show later this year. A Bloody Elbow reader says that an announcement is forthcoming from Affliction VP Tom Atencio:
Affliction MMA is Done. Tom Atencio will be making an announcement soon. A third show will probably happen to fulfill Affliction Entertainments larger contract obligations unless a deal with Zuffa can be arranged to offset some of the costs while Affliction pays off their contract obligations via “sponsorships”...
Either way, Atencio himself just denied the above rumors on Hardcore Sports Radio‘s “After Hours” show minutes ago:
“These rumors… that’s what they are, rumors. There is no truth to any of them. Right now we are trying to figure out when our next event is going to be, whether or not it’s going to be three months or four months. I don’t know where these rumors are coming from, but they are talking about us, so we must be doing something right.”
Is Atencio completely telling the truth? Who knows. Affliction and the UFC have been rumored to have had discussions in the past for a while now, that is until Todd Beard went insane and got himself fired. With the amount of success and praise Affliction experienced after “Day of Reckoning” last weekend, I honestly can’t see them closing their doors anytime soon, especially with the funding of Golden Boy and Donald Trump.
Amidst all of the rumors regarding a severe lack of ticket sales for Affliction Entertainment’s upcoming “Day of Reckoning” event on January 24, Affliction figurehead Tom Atencio released an official statement last night on The Underground Forum, stating that the rumors are false and sales are going well:
Just wanted to come on here and respond to all the rumors going around that we have only sold 1200-1500 seats. First of all I have no idea where this information is coming from, but it couldn’t be farther from the truth. In reality we are opening up more seating to accommodate the demand for tickets. This event is stacked from top to bottom, and I personally can’t wait to see every fight! For those of you that can’t make it out to the event, be sure to watch the main card live on PPV as well as the complete undercard for free on HDNET.
THANKS FOR ALL THE SUPPORT!
Tom Atencio Affliction Entertainment Group
Despite Atencio’s comments, rumors concerning the lack of ticket sales still persist, with fans even claiming that they have been able to purchase multiple group packages of tickets in premium seating sections with no problem at all. However, Atencio also claims that sales are comparable to the organization’s first showing back in July, and that a late boost in sales, which occurred the week of the “Banned” event, is also expected.
According to an article by the Long-Beach Press Telegram, which also features some bold quotes from UFC President Dana White about his competition among other things, Affliction Entertainment VP Tom Atencio is planning to return to active MMA competition in February after a three-year hiatus:
“I will fight for somebody else not Affliction,” the 41-year-old Atencio said. “I have been wanted to fight for a long time. I just haven’t had time. I still don’t have time but I want to do it again.”
Atencio said he finds ways from his busy schedule between running the Affliction Clothing company and promoting the upcoming Jan. 24 Affliction fight to prepare for his upcoming bout which will take place in the 170-pound division.
“I have somebody who comes here and trains me in the office and then I train at night as well… I have to make time to train.”
Atencio last fought at Total Combat 7 in January 2005, where he won a decision over David Martinez. At 41 years old, Atencio isn’t expected to make much of a splash with his restarted fighting career to say the least. He’s just doing it for kicks. His decision to fight may not get someone like Dana White to jump in and start training for their debut, but it is pretty cool to see Atencio interested in fighting again.
Fedor Emelianenko. Photo courtesy of Affliction Entertainment.
Today in New York City, Donald Trump and executives from Affliction Entertainment and M-1 Global held a press conference officially announcing the production of a new MMA-related reality show titled “Fighting Fedor”, which will pit 16 heavyweight fighters from around the world against each other for a shot at fighting former PRIDE heavyweight champion Fedor Emelianenko.
It will be the first time that Affliction and M-1 have partnered together since co-promoting “Banned on July 19. The concept was originally announced by M-1 Global earlier this year, but very little details were confirmed until this afternoon. Everyone involved, including Vadim Finkelstein, who currently serves as M-1 Global’s active president and Emelianenko’s longtime manager, feels that the project will be nothing short of a success.
“There are many international fighters that [people in] the United States don’t know about,” Finkelstein said at today’s press conference. “They include fighters from different countries and fighters that have very interesting and wonderful styles and are very exciting. We’re now opening the doors [for] the next generation of fighters. We anticipate that this project will be a great success.”
John has been on me in the past to write some opinion pieces and he’s right. So once a week, I’ll try to comment on some of the happenings in the world of Mixed Martial Arts as I see them in my warped eyes.
News last week that Affliction was loaning Andrei Arlovski and Roy Nelson to EliteXC to compete on the CBS October 4 Primetime show was really the best news to come out of either promotion in quite a while. Many feel the only way for either group to survive is to join forces. To me, it’s not even about competing with the UFC, it’s more a case of survival. By combining the MMA promotional experience of EliteXC with the roster and deep pockets of Affliction, they could carve out a very nice segment for themselves. Affliction, specifically Tom Atencio and Michael Cohen, have made it clear that this is a one time co-promotion at this point, which is the wise thing to do until they see how it works out. Conversely, EliteXC’s Jared Shaw of course is making veiled threats at the UFC, but that’s nothing new for $kala. Ultimately though, this could be a huge positive for both promotions.
Where is Fedor fighting next?
So will we next see Fedor fighting in Affliction, or in a thus unannounced New year’s Eve show in Japan? Upon hearing Fedor promise to fight in Japan on NYE during the Dream 6 show, Jerry Millen of Fedor’s M-1 Global team issued a statement saying that Fedor is under contract to fight for Affliction on their January show that is being co-promoted with boxing’s Golden Boy Promotions. Affliction has made similar statements. Just last year Monte Cox, fresh off the creation of M-1 Global featuring Fedor, stated Emelianenko would not be fighting on NYE and instead would compete on a January card. A few weeks later, Fedor announces his intention to compete on the inaugural Yarennoka show. This is becoming eerily similar. From all indications, Fedor’s Affliction contract is exclusive to bouts taking place in the US. But since the fight would occur in Japan, they might be powerless to prevent it.
Fedor Emelianenko. Photo courtesy of Affliction Entertainment.
Perennial heavyweight king Fedor Emelianenko will reportedly return to action at Affliction Entertainment’s second show, which has now been moved to January 2009 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California according to Mike Chiappetta of NBCSports.com.
Chiappetta confirmed Emelianenko’s participation with Affliction COO Michael Cohen, who stated that he has been confirmed as participating on the show and that an opponent for him is still being decided due to the possibility of the previously planned Andrei Arlovski vs. Josh Barnett showdown being broken up.
“It [Fedor’s opponent] is to be determined,” Cohen said in the report. “We are considering changing the combatants. We have not finalized that at this time. That is as a result of the issues to be revealed at the announcement.”
The announcement Cohen refers to will reportedly be made at a planned press conference at the Trump Tower in Manhattan within the next two weeks. According to Cohen, the revelation will be “groundbreaking”.
Brett Cooper. Photo courtesy of the International Fight League.
A welterweight bout between IFL veteran Brett Cooper and undefeated prospect Patrick Speight will reportedly finalize Affliction’s “Day of Reckoning” card, which will take place on October 11th at the Thomas & Mack Center on the campus of UNLV according to a report by MMA News.
Affliction VP Tom Atencio was said to have confirmed Cooper vs. Speight as the final bout to be signed for the event yesterday. Both fighters were originally scheduled to be part of Affliction’s “Banned” show on July 19 but were removed from the card due to unknown reasons.