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.
UFC show at Fort Bragg
The UFC has been heavily promoting their December 10th show to benefit the Fallen Heroes Fund. Its supposed to be held on the base at Fort Bragg in North Carolina, but some sources have indicated the military has not given the go ahead to the show yet. Tickets for the show will be free to the military personnel and should make for a great atmosphere. US Marine veteran Bran Stann, the former WEC light heavyweight champ will take on the current WEC champ Steve Cantwell, as the UFC begins the integrate the light heavyweight and middleweight divisions of the WEC into their roster. The UFC better have gotten full permission to run this show or they will really have egg on their face if it fails to take place.
More Good News/Bad News for EliteXC
One of EliteXC’s additional worries about the October 4th show has been alleviated some. The University of Miami recently announced their Oct 4 home football game against rival Florida State would take place at 3:30pm. While this may still hurt walk up sales for the EliteXC show at the BankAtlantic Center, at least they will not be directly competing time wise with Hurricanes football in town.
Speaking of tickets, a quick search for them on the TicketMaster website shows that you can get 8 tickets at any price level you want, including the low end $30 range. Those tickets are actually very good locations as they have blocked off the entire upper deck of the arena from sales. With the show just 6 days away, they will likely need a massive walkup buy to fill the lower level.
Affliction’s January Show
Early reports from Tom Atencio have indicated that the above-mentioned first Affliction/Golden Boy Promotions show will take place on January 25. Atencio also indicated that the show would feature four major MMA fights and one major boxing fight. Other than the mention of Fedor, few other names have been bandied about. Josh Barnett is assumed, but there are some indications from his part that he is planning on fighting on both the 11/1 Sengoku card as well as possibly on the January 4th Sengoku show. So he might be unavailable as well. It will be interesting to see who they have lined up for that very important show.
Just for the record, I’m plenty willing to give this concept a chance. But I feel in the end, major cards with both boxing and MMA will struggle. One thing to watch will be the ticket prices. The ticket prices for going to a good boxing match (PPV worthy) are much higher than the average MMA PPV event.
For instance, the cheapest ticket for the upcoming Kelly Pavlik-Bernard Hopkins fight in Atlantic City is $75. The cheapest tickets for the Joe Calzaghe-Roy Jones Jr fight is $150 for nosebleeds in Madison Square Garden. The much anticipated Oscar de la Hoya-Manny Pacquiao battle likewise has a low end ticket price of $150. Golden Boy Promotions is holding a boxing card at a small casino in Arizona on October 10 with the cheapest ticket to a show with no name fighters being $40!
UFC 90 in Chicago has low end tickets for $50. The cheapest ticket for UFC 78 last November was $45. EliteXC last May for the first CBS show had low end tickets of $28. As mentioned before, for the upcoming show on Oct 4, you can see Kimbo vs Shamrock for as little as $30.
I’m not sure what Affliction charged for their first show, but I guarantee it wasn’t above $100 for the cheapest seat. This relationship will likely shut out many from being able to afford to see their event live due to high ticket prices.
The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not representative of MMA on Tap.
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