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

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MMABlog’s Heavyweight MMA Rankings

 

Below I posted my heavyweight rankings.  My other rankings will be posted today as well.  Certainly the rankings could change a litte bit following UFC 90.  I’d love to hear your debate and arguments as these rankings are somewhat subjective.

 

Rank

Name

Organization

Next Fight

1

Fedor Emelianenko

Affliction

Arlovski (#4) 1/24

2

Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira

UFC

Mir (#11), 12/27

3

Randy Couture

UFC

Lesnar (#16), 11/15

4

Andrei Arlovski

Affliction

Emelianenko (#1) 1/24

5

Josh Barnett

Affliction

1/24

6

Fabricio Werdum

UFC

Do Santos (NR), 10/25

7

Gabriel Gonzaga

UFC

Hendricks (NR), 11/15

8

Tim Sylvia

Afliction

 

9

Alistair Overeem

DREAM/Strikeforce

 

10

Cheick Kongo

UFC

Al Turk (NR), 12/27

11

Frank Mir

UFC

Nogueira (#2) , 12/27

12

Ben Rothwell

Affliction

 

13

Aleksander Emelianenko

Affliction

 

14

Mirko Cro Cop

DREAM

 

15

Sergei Kharitonov

DREAM

 

16

Brock Lesnar

UFC

Couture (#3), 11/15

17

Roy Nelson

Affliction

 

18

Cain Velasquez

UFC

 

19

Antonio Silva

EliteXC?

 

20

Shane Carwin

UFC

 

21

Heath Herring

UFC

 

22

Dave Herman

EliteXC?

 

23

Pedro Rizzo

Affliction?

 

24

Brett Rogers

EliteXC?

 

25

Ricco Rodriquez

EliteXC?

 

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: Randy Couture Could Fight in The UFC Again

We all know of the lgal battle over Randy Couture’s contract.  Zuffa has apparently won that legal battle and now controls Couture’s fighting future.  At 45 years old Couture cannot have much left in the tank, but it is possible despite all the back and forth legal troubles to see Randy in the UFC octagon one more time, and this may be before year’s end.  Randy is still considered the UFC heavyweight champ and I do not know how a fight would be marketed or what it would entail, but another fight is possible as a means of settling with Zuffa out of court and then freeing him from his contract and enabling him to fight Fedor Emelieanenko.  Here is what I have found on the issue…

Rumors are starting to swirl that former UFC heavyweight champion Randy “The Natural” Couture could headline UFC 91 as the organization swings into Portland, OR, for the first time ever in November.Goldenboy, a respected member of the mixedmartialarts.com forum who has provided credible tips in the past, provided the info earlier this afternoon. He first broke the news of Aleksander Emelianenko failing his blood test.

Even more notably:

While Couture’s participation at UFC 91 is far from official, Eric, an amateur member of the Xtreme Couture gym where Randy trains, has confirmed that Couture is training to fight somebody in the near future.

And more…

Reigning UFC heavyweight champion Randy Couture could return to the Ultimate Fighting Championship by year’s end as part of an out-of-court settlement with the organization.

Multiple sources close to the fighter, speaking exclusively to MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com), today said that Couture is willing to fight once more for the UFC, possibly before the end of the year, as a potentia; resolution to his ongoing legal battles with the fight promotion.

However, Couture himself could not be reached for comment, and it’s unknown if the UFC is even considering the offer at this point.

According to one source, as part of Couture’s concession to return the octagon, the 45-year-old UFC hall-of-famer would want to walk away “clear and free” from the organization after the bout

The question is who will Randy fight?  The situation is complicated.  Randy is still the UFC heavyweight champion.  Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira is the UFC interim heavyweight champion.  Nogueira is scheduled to fight Frank Mir in December as a cap to the TUF 8 season.  It wouldn’t make sense for Randy to fight Nogueira, although that is the fight I have called for the whole time.  I have never understood why Randy ducked Nogueira.  Nogueira is by most considered the number 2 heavyweight in the world behind Fedor.  Randy said he wants to fight those better than him and he wants Fedor.  Why cause all this rift to get to Fedor when he should beat the number 2 first?  A fight with Nogueira would complicate things now.  If Couture won, what would happen to Nog’s title?  If Nog won it would be ideal, but you can’t bank on that.  Some have speculated it could be Brock Lesnar, who was rumored to fight Knongo at UFC 91, but that has been reported off due to a injury to Kongo.  Oh boy.  I have no idea what will happen now.  I suspect we will find out soon.

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.

    Best Non-UFC Fighters

    Here are the best non-UFC fighters.  This shows where the UFC is stacked and where they lack.  There competition is mainly in Affliction at heavyweight and DREAM at lightweight.  Here are the best non-UFC guys that the UFC should look to sign if possible. 

    Rank

    Heavyweight

    Light Heavy

    Middleweight

    Welterweight

    Lightweight

    1

    Fedor Emelianenko

    Antonio Rogerio Nogueira

    Paulo Filho

    Jake Shields

    Takanori Gomi

    2

    Andrei Arlovski

    Ricardo Arona

    Matt Lindland

    Carlos Condit

    Shinya Aoki

    3

    Josh Barnett

    Rafael Feijao

    Robbie Lawler

    Jay Hieron

    JZ Calvancante

    4

    Tim Sylvia

    Vladimir Matyushenko

    Kazuo Misaki

    Nick Thompson

    Eddie Alvarez

    5

    Ben Rothwell

    Babalu Sobral

    Gegard Mousasi

    Mach Sakurai

    Mitsuhiro Ishida

    6

    Mirko Cro Cop

    Tito Ortiz

    Vitor Belfort

    Mike Pyle

    Joachim Hansen

    7

    Roy Nelson

    Steve Cantwell

     “Jacare” de Sousa

     

    Tatsuya Kawajiri

    8

    Aleks Emelianenko

    Brian Stann

    Jason Miller

     

    Josh Thomson

    9

    Antonio Silva

     

    Melvin Manhoef

     

    Gilbert Melendez

    10

    Alistair Overeem

     

    Murilio Rua

     

    Vitor Ribeiro

    11

     

     

    Cung Le

     

    Jamie Varner

    12

     

     

    Denis Kang

     

    Ryan Schultz

    13

     

     

    Joey Villasenor

     

    KJ Noons

    14

     

     

    Frank Shamrock

     

    Nick Diaz

    15

     

     

    Yoshihiro Akiyama

     

    Caol Uno

    16

     

     

    Jorge Santiago

     

     

    17

     

     

    Chael Sonnen

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    MMA News: Roy Nelson vs. Jay White at Affliction 2

    Former IFL heavyweight champion Roy Nelson appears to be taking on Jay White at Affliction 2: Day of Reckoning.  Roy Nelson has apparently been signed with Affliction following the demise of the IFL.  This is a pretty amazing class of heavyweights when you think about it: Fedor Emelianenko, Andrei Arlovski, Josh Barnett, Ben Rothwell, Aleksander Emelianenko, Pedro Rizzo, Paul Buentello, Tim Sylvia, and now Roy Nelson.  Affliction is nearing a monopoly on the heavyweight divison almost to the extent that the UFC has in the light heavyweight and welterweight divisons. 

    This fight comes on the heels of learning that the main event will not be Fedor vs. Arlovski, but rather will be Arlovski vs. Barnett.