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

 

Update on ProElite’s Status

ProElite had announced that they were shutting their doors, cancelling future fights, and filing for bankruptct.  All of this came as ProElite, the parent company of EliteXC continued to operate in the red.  Fianlly, Kimbo Slice’s loss at the last EliteXC event and the ensuing standgate scandal with Seth Petruzelli really was the final blow to ProElite.  Following the announcment of their demise many people wondered what would become of the fighters under contract.  It was assumed that the UFC, Affliction, and Strikeforce would soak up many of the big name guys. 

      However, ProElite recently sent letters to many managers of fighters including Monte Cox and Cesar Gracie saying that they intended to promote cards in 2009.  This threw fans, bloggers and fighters for a loop. 

   Then on October 31st it was announced that Showtime planned to have a private auction to sell the assets of proelite on November 17th.  The assets would include fighter contracts and video libraries.

Showtime, whose parent is CBS Corp., notified ProElite on Oct. 31 that it will auction off the company’s assets at a Los Angeles law firm on Nov. 17. The most valuable would appear to be the contract of one-time YouTube sensation Kimbo Slice. Also included are contracts with at least 13 other fighters, as well as a video library and the EliteXC and other brands.

It may not be so easy…Zach Arnold says:

What’s fascinating about this news item is the fact that Elite XC reportedly used personal service contracts with fighters. If you recall, PRIDE used the same type of agreements with its fighters. When DSE sold the PRIDE assets to UFC, I was screaming at the top of my lungs that fighters would be able to break away from those contracts if they were PSCs. UFC found itself having to renegotiate new contracts with PRIDE fighters because of it. Now, we have Monte Cox claiming that the fighter contracts up for sale at the auction on November 17th are PSCs, meaning in theory that they are not transferrable to third parties. This is why Cox is questioning whether or not Showtime will be able to pull off what they are doing.

Some managers such as Gracie and Cox have tried to file a suit saying that Proelite cannot fulfill the fighter contracts and therefore their fighters such as Jake Shields, Nich Diaz and Robbie Lawler ought to be released and made free agents. 

The impending auction of Proelite led many to wonder if Zuffa, the parent compant of the UFC would be in the market to buy the assets in order to gain guys like Jake Shields, Eddie Alvarez and Robbie Lawler. 

Today it was reported from ProElite that they will fight the auction…

The Company plans to take all appropriate measures to prevent the sale from occurring. Such measures may include raising additional financing, filing a lawsuit enjoining the sale, filing a bankruptcy petition or negotiating a settlement with Showtime. There can be no assurances that the Company will be successful in any of these actions.

The answer regarding ProElite’s status is no one knows.  First they are shutting down, then they aren’t.  Next they are selling assets, then they aren’t.  They are ceasing operations, then the are going to promote cards. 

ProElite is deep in debt including millions of dollars to Showtime and CBS.  There is no way they can promote more cards.  Why the heck must they screw the fighters and the fans in the process?  I will tell you why…because Dana White was right, Chuck Champion, the Shaws and the other ProElite brass do not care about MMA.

Where Will the EliteXC Fighters Land?

Here is a prioritized list (somewhat) of EliteXC prospects and where they may land…

1. Jake Shields – I believe Shields is EliteXC’s best martial artist.  I guess he is their highest ranked fighter.  Shields has said that he wants better competition and this is his way out.  I am sure places like Affliction, DREAM and World Victory Road will come calling.  Perhaps they will offer lucrative deals.  Perhaps they can make one or two exciting fights, but the reality is the best welterweights are in the UFC.  If Shields wants to fight the best he needs to be in the UFC.  I expect him to land in the UFC.  He is the top prospect from EliteXC and whoever signs them picks up a great fighter and a instant contender for the belt.  There are countless exciting fights in the UFC for Shields.  This from GracieFighter.com

We are confirming that EliteXC has folded. What this means for our fans and supporters is that there will not be a Nick Diaz vs. Eddie Alvarez fight on November 8th. However Jake Shields in the UFC has now become a real possibility. We will be updating our site for future developments.<!– –>

2. Gina Carano – She may hurt the most from this as women’s MMA hasn’t taken off yet.  Dana White has said many times he has no plans to start a women’s divison.  The only other organization that has a solid women’s divison is AFL.  They could contend for Carano’s services.  Gina is a huge draw, probably the top women’s draw out there and I still want to see Carano v. Cyborg happen.  Perhaps Proelite’s collapse may motivate someone like Affliction to start women’s MMA.  I lean towards Carano at AFL.

3. Rafael Feijao – I believe he is a top prospect.  He is rapidly climbing the rankings.  He is a great light heavyweight who trains under the Nogueiras and Anderson Silva.  I think he could be the best some day.  A report came last week that Feijao would be in the UFC in a year, and it looks like it couldbe sooner.  I do not know if he wants to geta  few more fights first, but the UFC is his goal.  I expect he will land in the UFC.  I just hope Dana and others do not sleep on this guy’s potential. 

4. Eddie Alvarez – Alvarez made a huge impression at the DREAM lightweight tournament.  He still feels that belt is rightly his.  He became a sort of star in that tournament.  Alvarez is young and super talented.  Any promoter would be dumb not to bring big offers for Alvarez.  In the end I think Alvarez ends up somewhere like DREAM or Affliction.  I say Affliction because they would allow him to fight in DREAM as well.  I’d love to see him in the UFC, but I doubt it will happen.

5. Antonio Silva – He is serving a steroids suspension which may hurt him, however my gut tells me he is innocent in this one.  He may really have some type of hormonal problem.  I do not know where he will land, but he is a top tier heavyweight and I believe can compete with most heavyweights in the world.  Affliction and UFC have the best heavyweight divisons.  If he wants to fight and win he may go somewhere like DREAM where there is limited competition.  If he wants to really compete with the best it will be Affliction or the UFC.

6. Robbie Lawler – Robbie Lawler is tough guy to figure out.  He is a consensus top ten middleweight in the world.  Surely the UFC would give him a chance, but he struggled in the UFC.  I still think the UFC should try to sign him, but I wouldn’t be shocked to shocked to see Lawler in Affliction or even Strikeforce. 

7. Dave Herman – Dave Herman is a solid prospect at heavyweight.  I’d like to see him get some attention from this.  He should be one of the top names out there.  He isn’t a top 15 heavyweight right now, but he is doing very good.  He would be a solid add for someone like the UFC, who has a weakend heavyweight divison.

8. Wilson Reis – Where can he got but to the WEC?   He is a solid fighter, but the lighter guys don’t have many options.  The WEC is quickly putting togetehr the best featehrweight and bantamweight divisons in the world.  For Reis the WEC provides a chance to fight the best guys in the world in his weight class.

9. Brett Rogers – I think he is very good.  Perhaps one dimensional, but he can knock someone out.  If I was the UFC I would worry about personality here.  He is very WWE.  He comes into fights with an entourage.  He talks smack.  He is talented and perhaps a guy on the rise, but he is a gamble.  Someone will sign him.  However, Rogers will go where the money is.  I don’t blame him for that.  I doubt it will be the UFC.

10. Joey Villasenor –Villasenor has fought nearly everywhere, except the UFC.  He has a solid record and impressive resume.  He is for sure a top ten EliteXC fighter.  Promoters will come hard after Villasenor.  He is better than some the UFC has under contract at 185 lbs, but will they offer Villasenor?  I think they will offer him, but I don’t know that is where he will land.  For some reason my gut tells me he ends up at Affliction.

11. Nick Diaz – I cannot imagine the UFC wanting Nick Diaz back, but I think I remember Dana saying he would give Nick another chance.  I don’t see him back in the UFC.  His antics are too crazy.  I think he ends up in Japan at either World Victory Road or DREAM.

12. Benji Radach – Rumor has it that when the IFL closed Radach called the UFC and talked to them about coming back to the UFC.  Apparently, the UFC told him he needed to get another fight first.  Then Radach signed with EliteXC and won huge over Murilo Rua on CBS.  The question is, does Radach still want the UFC or is he angry with them?  I do not know that answer, but I am pretty sure the UFC would want him now.  regardless, Affliction will be the number one contender.

13. Murilo “Ninja” Rua – Rua is talented, but he has struggled.  He has been an on and off fighter.  I think he is a solid pick up for anyone and he is worth a contract.  He could join his brother in the UFC, but he is not a top ten guy right now at his weight class or even in the UFC.  If he wants a title he betetr find somewhere else to go.  He could be another Affliction add.  I think Affliction boosts their middleweight divison through this.

14. Frank Shamrock- He is not like his brother, he can still fight.  I think he ends up at Strikeforce, but Affliction will come calling.  One thing is for sure, he will not be in the UFC  he and Dana White hate each other’s guts.

15. Scott Smith – As good as Smith looked against Lawler, I do not see him being a hot commodity, but he will land somewhere.  He has tried his hand in the UFC.  I doubt that will happen, although that bridge probably isn’t burned.  I would say Smith will be around and maybe fight in some smaller shows or go to Strikeforce.

16. K.J. Noons – I don’t know what to make of K.J.  He is a decent fighter, but not the best lightweight.  He has expressed intrest in boxing, so maybe that is where he will go.  However, I have a feeling he will try his hand at MMA still.  I think the WEC would be a good fit for Noons, but Affliction is another real option.  They may be more willing to allow him to box and do other things.

17. Paul Daley – He is a good welterweight, and maybe the UFC would like to consider going hard after another U.K. fighter.  He is no Bisping in terms of skills, but he isn’t bad either.  That may be a very real possibility to see Daley in the UFC.  Put him on the Ultimate Fighter 8! Not really, but UFC is very possible.

18. Phil Baroni – He isn’t going to the UFC.  He looks better at 170 though.  I don’t know what Baroni will do.  I have a feeling he will be a wanderer.

19. Ricco Rodriquez – Does he still fight?  He is perfect for Affliction.  He is a former UFC champ, who is past his prime. 

20. Kimbo Slice – I considered putting Kimbo near the top of my list.  Like it or not he is the face of EliteXC.  He is a big draw.  I decided to put him where he belongs talent wise.  With all the Kimbo bashing, I still think he is a good investment.  I still think he can fight good fighters and compete to some degree.  I think he is way overrated and overhyped, but some organization would love to have him.  I think the AFL would be a good choice.  Also, Affliction could get into the mix.  One more thing, do not be surprised to see a Japanese promotion making an effort to pick up Kimbo.  Bas Rutten, his trainer, loved Japanese venues and could influence him here.

I say that Dana and the UFC will go after 10-12 of these guys, but will come away with about 5 or 6.

MMA News: Gegard Mousasi vs. Vitor Belfort at Affliction’s January Event

Affliction/Golden Boy’s January card is begining to be worked out. It seems likely that a super middlweight match up between Gegard Mousasi and Vitor Belfort will take place at the event according to Fighters Only Magazine

DREAM middleweight champion Gegard Mousasi expects to face Vitor Belfort on Affliction’s next MMA show in January.

Speaking to Fighters Only this week, he revealed that the US organisation wants him to fight the Brazilian, while Red Devil team mate Fedor Emelianenko may face Josh Barnett.

“I’m going to train with Fedor in preparation for Affliction in January,” he said. “I think it is Fedor against Josh Barnett and they want me to fight Vitor Belfort.”

Mousasi is part of the Red Devil International team and he shares a manager with Fedor in the shape of Vadim Finkelstein.

As well as training with Fedor, he will continue to train in his own gym in the Netherlands.

“[I have] some very good friends who each has a specialty – wrestling, judo, jiu jitsu and so on,” he explains. “If I need extra training I sometimes to go to other gyms in Holland.”

What an exciting fight this could be.  In my opinion these guys are two of the best non-UFC middleweights in the world.  I know some looked for the fight that was originally scheduled between Matt Lindland and Vitor Belfort, but I think this is a better match and may be for the Affliction Middleweight belt.  Mousasi is the DREAM middleweight champion and posted wins in the DREAM middleweight Grand Prix over guys like Denis Kang, Melvin Manhoef, and Ronaldo “Jacare” de Sousa.  This should be a great fight of good middleweight talent.

  Also on that card we expect to see Fedor Emelianenko, perhaps against Josh Barnett or even Andrei Arlovski.  I also expect to see a lot of the other guys who were initially scheduled to fight at the October event such as Matt Lindland, Paul Buentello, Ben Rothwell, Tim Sylvia, Jay Hieron, Chris Horodecki and maybe even Aleksander Emelianenko.

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.