The Nail in Affliction’s Coffin

As Affliction readies for their second MMA card they have released their fight card (posted below)  It looks like there are a couple of good fights on “The Day of Reckoning” card, however they made some huge mistakes. 

1. Their choice of fights for the pay per view card.  I think they made a big mistake making two cards so distinct like they did.  They have their pay per view card and their HDNet card.  While, I appreicate that it means that all the fights will be televised, they made a mistake with their line up.  The bottom line is that if Affliction wants to hang around they MUST have good fights.  I think there are 3 really good fights on this card and only 2 others worth watching.  The really good fights: Fedor vs. Arlovski, Lindland vs. Belfort and Nogueira vs. Matyushenko.  Someone please tell me why in the heck is a Chris Horodecki vs. Dan Lauzon fight making the pay per view card over Nogueira vs. Matyushenko?  For that matter why in the world would Babalu vs. Sokoudjou make it into the broadcast over Nog vs. Matyushenko?  I am not done.  Why would Josh Barnett vs. Gilbert Yvel be the choise over Nogueira vs. Matyushenko?  I know they want a headliner for HDNet, but they need buys.  Nog vs. Matyushenko has a story – it’s a re-match.  It has two top twenty light heavyweights.  Nogueira has huge name recognition.  Bad move Affliction.  There is one nail in your coffin and one reason I will no pay for those fights.  Horodecki vs. Lauzon is laughable.  They are not even top 40 lightweights in the world.  Come on. 

2. Their Competition.  The bottom line is that the economy is in bad shape and it can affect pay per view buys for MMA events.  In January I will have to budget which events to buy.  Here is the line up for January.  January 17th is UFC 93 headlined by Rich Franklin vs. Dan Henderson with Shogun vs. Mark Coleman.  Affliction 2: Day of Reckoning is on January 17th and is headlined by Fedor vs. Arlovski, which is very interesting.  UFC 94 follows on January 31st features B.J. Penn vs. Georges St. Pierre.  Listen if you can afford a pay per view 3 times in January…more power to you.  I can’t.  Let’s just say for the sake of it that you will order 2 events in January, which ones will you order?  GSP vs. Penn is a no brainer.  That means it is between Fedor vs, Arlovski and Franklin vs. Henderson.  The main event may favor Affliction, but the whole card and name recognition favors UFC 93.  Not to mention the fact that people can get their MMA fix the day after the Affliction card from WEC 38, which features Jamie Varner vs. Donald Cerrone and Urijah Faber vs. Jens Pulver.  Also, WEC 38 may add Carlos Condit to the card.  On top of that…add in the fact that about 28 days before Affliction’s card UFC 92 airs on Pay Per View.  Oh yeah, your co-promoter, Golden Boy has a big boxing event that same night 30 minutes away.  Ouch, that hurts. Sorry Affliction that is 2 nails in your coffin.

3.  Their marketing.  Enough said.  They cannot compete with the UFC.  The casual fan will not know about or will not remember the Affliction event in light of the upcoming super fight with Penn and St. Pierre.  Further confusion is cast with the distinction of the HDNet card vs. pay per view card.  My prediction is that Affliction’s rating stink and this is the third nail in their coffin.  As they say in baseball…3 strikes you are out!

Pay Per View Card:

Fedor Emelianenko vs.  Andrei Arlovski

Josh Barnett vs.  Gilbert Yvel

Renato Sobral vs.  Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou

Matt Lindland vs.  Vitor Belfort

Chris Horodecki vs.  Dan Lauzon

HDNet Broadcast:

Vladimir Matyushenko vs.  Antonio Rogerio Nogueira

Jay Hieron vs.  Jason High

Mark Hominick vs.  LC Davis

Albert Rios vs. Antonio Duarte

Babalu vs. Sokoudjou at Affliction: Day of Reckoning

Two light heavyweight fighters fired by the UFC will square off at Affliction: Day of Reckoning.   Newly crowned Strikeforce light heavyweight champ Renato “Babalu” Sobral will square off against recently released Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou.  Both of these guys are generally considered top 20 205ers in the world. 

Sokoudjou gained fame for his back to back knockouts of Ricardo Arona and Antonio Rogeri Nogueira in the last days of PRIDE.  That earned him a stint in the UFC where he went 1-2.  Albeit, Sokoudjou’s losses came to Lyoto Machida and Luis Cane. 

Anyways, should be a fairly good fight.  This should be a fight that Babalu will want to take to the ground as Sokoudjou has shown ZERO ground ability.

Renato Sobral

vs.

Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou

Babalu

Nickname

The African Assasain

18

MMA Blog Rank

16

205 Lbs.

Weight Class

205 Lbs.

31-7

Record

5-3

 

Affliction Partners With Golden Boy

The big news this past week was that Affliction cancelled it’s October 11th card and announced a partnership with boxing promotion Golden Boy.  Many of the other MMA news sites have details about this, especially check out MMAConvert’s coverage on the situation. I took this from MMA Convert:

Affliction Entertainment Vice President Tom Atencio on Saturday confirmed that his company has entered into an agreement with Golden Boy Promotions, the boxing promotion led by Oscar De La Hoya. The two will co-promote a hybrid evening of boxing and mixed martial arts to be held at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif. on Jan. 17.

The newly-formed partnership will include four co-promoted pay-per-view events to begin in 2009. The cards will feature both mixed martial arts and boxing matches in the same ring.

“It’s very good news,” Atencio told MMAWeekly.com. “It’s good for the company, and it’s good for the sport.”

Atencio said the companies were in talks with premium channel HBO to air the Jan. 17 show, but were not close to a deal yet.

Let me weigh in:

I have always had a slight favor to the UFC.  I love the idea of a single big league MMA promotion.  Many of Affliction’s fighters I would like to see in the UFC.  There is a part of me that does not care if Affliction suceeds.  I will say this for Affliction: They are savvy.  They have constantly been making business moves.  I am not a MMA insider, but I am a fan and can give one fans perspective.  The problem with the partnership with golden boy and boxing is that I do not like boxing.  I won’t watch it.  I would watch Barnett vs. Arlovski, but I could care less about Pavlik vs. Hopkins.  I know there are a lot of MMA fans who love boxing, and a lot of MMA reporters who are former boxing writers, such as Franklin McNeil.  I will not pay for a card that is half boxing and half MMA.  The problem is a pay per view will show two, maybe three MMA fights.  Affliction is trying to increase its roster and this won’t help.  I’d love to hear what other fans thing.  Financially they may make it.  They may draw in boxing fans into MMA in a greater level.  This could hurt Affliction.  I have to wonder what their fighters think about this.  I wonder what they think about the postponment.  That really screwed some of them.  Bad move in the long run in my opinion, but I honestly believe Affliction will struggle and they had to do something different.  There are a lot of variables that could come into play.  We will see though.  As for now put me on the record as saying it is a bad move that will hurt them with MMA purists.

MMA News: Jay Hieron vs. Drew Fickett at Affliction 2

October 11th will be Affliction’s second card and they are trying their best to put on another good card.  Just this past week the signing of IFL welterweight champ Jay Hieron bolstered Affliction’s welterweight divison, but he did not have a credible opponent.  Now it seems he will fight former UFC fighter Drew Fickett.  Fickett has been in many organizations and has been highly criticized lately for his ethics in taking fights in other promotions.  Anyways, this should be an interesting fight and should help a card that is sub par at best.  The Affliction 2: Day of Reckoning card will be headlined by Josh Barnett vs. Andrei Arlovski.  The card will also feature Roy Nelson vs. Paul Buentello, Ben Rothwell vs. Pedro Rizzo, Antonio Rogerio Nogueira vs. Vladimir Matyushenko, and Chris Horodecki vs. Dan Lauzon.  The bout between Matt Lindland and Vitor Belfort fell apart due to Belfort’s injury, and the bout between Babalu and Tito Ortiz seems to have fallen apart also.

Evaluating Affliction

One of the questions that I keep thinking about is whether or not Affliction in here to stay and whether or not they will compete with the UFC.  No one disagrees that UFC is the standard of MMA right now, but Affliction is making up ground quickly.  It has been a tell tale sign of a slight change that Affliction has signed so many guys lately including many of the stars from the now defunt IFL, which was bought by the parent company of the UFC, Zuffa.  Affliction has signed Champs Roy Nelson and Vladimir Matyushenko.  They have signed lightweight star Chris Horodecki and are rumored to have welterweight champ Jay Hieron.  Affliction is cleaning up the free agents and doing better in that regard than even the UFC as of late.  So, what is there to judge a promotion…

1. Fighter Talent – Fight promotions are fight promotions.  There are other factors that come into play, but primarily if a promotion does not have top level talent they will not stay relevant.

2. Show Quality –  While good fighters is essential, the promotion must put on a good show.  They must entertain fans.  This includes exciting fights, good commentators and a solid show production.  Promotions have to build shows people will come to or buy.

3.  Solid Managment –  Managment is important to a fight promotion, not just anyone can do it.  A promotion may suceed or fail based ont he business savvy of the fight promoter or president.  The PR, fighter pay, contracts, TV deals, etc. all come into play here.

With that said, let’s see how Affliction is doing…

1. Fighter Talent…

There is a lot of hype around Affliction’s fighter talent.  Here is who I can think of off hand that they have and will use on their cards

  • Fedor Emelianenko
  • Andrei Arlovski
  • Josh Barnett
  • Tim Sylvia
  • Ben Rothwell
  • Roy Nelson
  • Pedro Rizzo
  • Paul Buentello
  • Aleksander Emelianenko
  • Antonio Rogerio Nogueira
  • Tito Ortiz
  • Vladimir Matyushenko
  • Renato “Babalu” Sobral
  • Mike Whitehead
  • Edwin DeWees
  • Vernon White
  • Vitor Belfort
  • Matt Lindland
  • Jay Hieron
  • Mike Pyle
  • J.J. Ambrose
  • Chris Horodecki

I went to HDNet’s Rankings to see how many Affliction Fighters were ranked in the top 100 pound for pound or top in their divisons  here is the results.

(Pound for Pound Rank, Divison Rank)

  • Fedor Emelianenko (2, 1)
  • Andrei Arlovski (25, 4)
  • Josh Barnett (27, 5)
  • Tim Sylvia (55, 7)
  • Ben Rothwell (81, 12)
  • Roy Nelson (84, 13)
  • Pedro Rizzo (NR, 19)
  • Paul Buentello (NR, NR)
  • Aleksander Emelianenko (76, 10)
  • Antonio Rogerio Nogueira (85, 13)
  • Tito Ortiz (87, 15)
  • Vladimir Matyushenko (66, 12)
  • Renato “Babalu” Sobral (92, 16)
  • Mike Whitehead (NR, NR)
  • Edwin DeWees (NR, NR)
  • Vernon White (NR, NR)
  • Vitor Belfort (NR, NR) – Unfairly I’d admit
  • Matt Lindland (22, 5)
  • Jay Hieron (59, 11)
  • Mike Pyle (NR, NR)
  • J.J. Ambrose (NR, NR)
  • Chris Horodecki (NR, NR)
  • Put this into perspective, out of the top 100 the promotions faires like this in pound for pound top 100 fighters…

    • UFC -39
    • Affliction – 13
    • DREAM -12
    • WEC – 10
    • EliteXC – 10
    • Strikeforce – 5
    • World Victory Road – 3

    The point is that Affliction’s talent is overrated. 

    • They are right about the level of DREAM talent wise
    • They are no where near the talent level of the UFC
    • 10 of the Affliction guys that appeared on the rankings list have fought in the UFC before.  Some have been sucessful.  There are several former UFC champs (Sylvia, Barnett, Rizzo, Ortiz and Arlovski), however most of them did no better than fair in the UFC (see Matyushenko, Hieron, et. al)
    • Most of the top Affliction guys are in the second half of their careers and are past their prime.  They still have fight left in them, don’t get me wrong, but not for the long haul
    • What happens if two or three of those gusy get injured?  Affliction is hanging their hat on Fedor, Barnett, Arlovski and Ortiz.  They cannot keep putting everyone on every card, they will run out of match-ups.
    • To their credit, they can put on good fights.  The talent isn’t bad.  Their guys can fight exciting fighter, but they have exciting fights at tough man competitions. They need to sign younger talent and more talent.

    Show Quality…

    • I cannot judge them solely on their sole show.  Affliction needs to improve their show quality as far as commentating, interviews and production is concerned
    • Also, I thought with the exception of the last 3 fights the card wasn’t what it was billed to be
    • They are nowhere near the UFC level as far as enjoyability to watch

    Solid Managment:

    • The UFC with Dana White and the Fertitas is still the managment standard.  I have problems with the UFC and Dana White’s managing style.  I don’t like his constant expletives, I don’t like the way he trashes other promotions, I don’t like the stubborness he exhibits with signing guys like Lindland and Barnett, and even Fedor.  However, Dana is crafty.  Atencio is no Dana White.  Watch his video below where he can’t remember Josh Barnett’s name and he is the main event for the second show. 
    • Affliction does have the deep pocketed Donald Trump behind them which helps.  Trump is a business guiness, but he doesn’t neccessarily know MMA.  The money helps thought he same way it helped having Lorezon and Frank in the UFC early days when they lost tons of money.

    Here is the point folks…Affliction is a solid upstart company.  They may be around for a while, but before we jump ont he bandwagon and label them peers to the UFC and competitors to the UFC let them get through a few shows first.  Let’s see how much money they lose after 3 events.  Let’s see how many fights they can do after 3 card.  They could compete, but as for now it is the UFC and then everyone else.  Zuffa is sitting pretty in the MMA world.  They are the big leagues, everything else is just the minors.  Affliction, EliteXC and DREAM are in the same boat and in a year from now at least one of them will be non-existent.

    MMA News: Tito Ortiz Signs With Affliction

    It has been assumed that light heavyweight fighter and former UFC champ Tito Ortiz would sign a contract with Affliction.  The assumption now seems to be a reality and will be formally announced at a Affliction press conference Wednesday. Sports Illustrated and many other venues are reporting this news recently.  Tito Ortiz said that not only was he signed to a contract, but that it was record breaking and the largest contract ever fore a MMA fighter, here are Ortiz’s comments…

    I guarantee you that my contract will be like no other. It will be a ground-breaking record contract for sure, without a doubt. There’s so much money to be made right now in mixed martial arts and it’s all about the fighters trying to make that money. It’s going to be a long-term deal where I put my heart and soul into the company and help build them. That’s something I’m interested in doing. They’re going to bring me on, not just as a fighter but also doing some of the back work also.

    Okay, so Tito gets a record breaking contract.  Here is my problem with that.  He gets a record breaking contract, which should be worth millions, but he is nowhere near the best fighter in MMA, Affliction, or even Affliction’s light heavyweight divison.  I can’t blame Tito for this contract.  The man is a savvy business man that is buddy buddy with the deep pocked Donald Trump who is a part of Affliction.  Blaming Tito for the contract is like blaming a NFL player for getting the highly overpain contract.  I don’t think Tito is worth the largest contract, but that is Affliction’s problem.  If Tim Sylvia landed $800,000 for one fight which he lost, imagine what Tito will be making with Affliction.  Despite the fact that I think Ortiz is cocky and overrated as a fighter he is a crowd favorite and should draw in fans.  Here is what Tito said about his drawing power…

    Mr. Trump works fast and gets busy in a lot of the things he does and he’s going to give me the best deal possible.  I know they want to make some money and I know they got over 100,000 pay-per-view buys on their first show and with me it’s guaranteed to be over 500,000 pay-per-view buys just by the number of fans that are going to follow me no matter where I go so they’re going to get there money’s worth just in pay-per-view no matter what

    I doubt Tito can boost pay per view sales to 500,000.  An Affliction card headlines by Arlovski vs. Barnett and a co-main event of Ortiz vs. Sobral is not going to get 500,000 buys.  Sorry Tito.  I believe that Affliction is gaining credibility.  They are showing they will pay their fighters.  This willbe drawing power for other fighters.  I have to believe that peple are going to want to sign with Affliction.  This is evident from Affliction not the UFC signing most of the IFL fighters that were any good (i.e. Nelson and Matyushenko).  The problem will be the finances of Affliction.  Can they keep paying the way they are and make a profit?  Time will tell.  If they stay afloat for more than 3 cards they can seriously compete with the UFC.  It seems that Ortiz will debut on Affliction’s second card on October 11, names “Day of Reckoning”.  It appears that the rumors are true that he will face Renato “Babalu” Sobral at the event.

    Babalu has been in my crosshairs.  He’s already been talking smack, saying if he sees me he’s going to kick my a**, but right on if he keeps thinking that. He’ll get his face caved in sooner or later. I know Frank Shamrock is another person who’s been opening up his mouth. He beat me the last time we fought and I think that would be a great revenge fight where I kick his ass and finally shut him up. As time goes we’ll see who Affliction signs besides me. I don’t know. I might even go up to heavyweight if the bigger pay days are there.”

    Tito is a solid addition to the light heavyweight divison, but he is 2nd or 3rd in ranking in my opinion, behind Antonio Rogerio Nogueira and maybe Vladimir Matyushenko.  Ortiz mentioend a possible move up to heavyweight.  Ortiz wants the money.  He is past his prime and he just made a killing from Affliction.  I hope it pays off for them.  He will have a tough fight against Babalu in October.

    MMA News: Matyushenko vs. Nogueira at Affliction 2

    It appears that Affliction has signed yet another top fighter in former IFL light heavyweight champ Vladimir Matyushenko.  Yesterday it was reported that Affliction signed former IFL heavyweight champ Roy Nelson and that he would appear on Afflictions second card on October 11.  It also appears that Matyushenko will appear on this second card and will fight Antonio Rogerio Nogueira in a light heavyweight bout.  This should be a very good bout.  Both guys are ranked in my top 15 and most people’s top 20.  These 2 fighters in my opinion may make up the two best non-UFC light heavyweights.  I was frustrated that Nogueira was not the one talked about to get Tito Ortiz, but this is a better fight for him anyways.  The October 11th card dubbed “Day of Reckoning” will be headlined by a fight between heavyweights Josh Barnett and Andrei Arlovski.

    • Andrei Arlovski vs. Josh Barnett
    • Tito Ortiz vs. Renato “Babalu” Sobral
    • Matt Lindland vs. Vitor Belfort
    • Antonio Rogerio Nogueira vs. Vladimir Matyshenko
    • Roy Nelson vs. Jay White
    • Tim Sylvia vs. ?
    • Paul Buentello vs. ?
    • Pedro Rizzo vs. ?
    • Mike Pyle vs. ?