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.

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    Affliction: Banned Fighter Salaries

    The pay of the fighters is the disclosed amount to the CSAC.  The fighters likely were paid more than that when you include other bonuses and sponsor’s pay. 

    A few thoughts on the pay of the Affliction fighters…

    ·         The pay was very, very high in contrast to even UFC fighters.  For example, Matt Lindlad took home $100,000 more than Anderson Silva did for his fight on the same night. 

    ·         Fedor was grossly underpaid in comparison to other fighters.  I thought he was making more than $1 million for this fight.  Perhaps he is. 

    ·         Tim Sylvia is very overpaid

    ·         Some fighters by this scale were still overpaid

    ·         Some fighters by this scale were still underpaid.  I am shocked Nogueira only made $50,000, the same amount as Mike Whitehead. 

    ·         I don’t know what UFC fighters come away with, but the biggest competition Affliction will give the UFC is fighter pay

    ·         It will be hard for them to cover this financially.  God thing they have Trump. 

     

    Tim Sylvia: $800,000

    Andrei Arlovski: $750,000 (includes $250,000 win bonus)

    Fedor Emelianenko: $300,000 (no win bonus)
    Josh Barnett: $300,000 (no win bonus)

    Matt Lindland: $300,000 (includes $75,000 win bonus)

    Ben Rothell: $250,000

    Vitor Belfort: $140,000 (includes $70,000 win bonus)

    Renato “Babalu” Sobral: $90,000 (includes $30,000 win bonus)

    Paul Buentello: $80,000 (includes $20,000 win bonus)
    Pedro Rizzo: $70,000

    Mike Whitehead: $50,000

    Antonio Rogerio Nogueira: $50,000 (no win bonus)

    Terry Martin: $30,000

    Gary Goodridge: $25,000

    Fabio Nascimento: $20,00O
    Mike Pyle: $20,000 (includes $5,000 win bonus)

    Edwin Dewees: $15,000

    Mark Hominick: $10,000 (includes $5,000 win bonus)
    Savant Young: $7,000

    Justin Levens: $6000
    JJ Ambrose: $5,000

    Ray Lizama: $3,000

    Total Payout

    A disclosed total of $3,332,100 was paid out to the fighters.

    Live Gate:

    Paid attendance: 11,242
    Complimentary attendance: 3,590
    Total attendance: 14,832

    Gross receipt from ticket sales (live gate): $2,085,510

    Affliction…

    When it was announced that Affliction was starting, I was skeptical that they would be able to do very well.  I still have some doubts, but they do have a monster event lined up with some big names of their card.  I will pay to watch these fights.  They keep signing big time guys.  They just signed Antonio Rogerio Nogueira yesterday, the brother of Minotauro Nogueira.  I don’t fully understand this move on his part because all the light heavyweight competition is in the UFC.  So things are looking good for Affliction.  They have many good things that UFC doesn’t.  1. They are reportedly paying their fighters very well.  Fedor will make over one million dollars and Sylvia can make one million with a win.  2. Their managment looks to be all busisness.  My criticism of Dana White has been he doesn’t look like a commish.  He often going on rants, he is proud, he will trash his fighters (e.g. Tito and Randy) ranther than taking the high ground, and he lets out more expletives that you can imagine which destorys any parent allowing their children to watch.  3. They are making good moves.  Affliction will air the undercard of this event on Fox Sports Net.  4. They have built their hevayweight divison strong.  They have Fedor, Barnett, Sylvia, Aleksander, Rothwell, maybe Arlovski, Buentello, and Rizzo.  We know people like the heavyweights.  They have recognized this.  Affliction’s one problem is that many of their fighters are veterans.  That may be good for locking up pay-per view buys, but they are older.  This means that they may be past their primes.  Time will tell if that is true or not.  I have to say as a big UFC fan that I am excited for Affliction: Banned.  Here is their July 19th card…

    Fedor Emelianenko vs. Tim Sylvia  

    Josh Barnett vs. Pedro Rizzo

    Matt Lindland vs. Fabio Negao

    Ben Rothwell vs. TBA (Arlovski ?)

    Aleksander Emelianenko vs. Paul Buentello

    Antonio Rogerio Nogueira vs. Vernon White

    Renato “Babalu” Sobral vs. Mike Whitehead

    Mark Hominick vs. Savant Young    

    Brett Cooper vs. Mike Pyle

    J.J. Ambrose vs. Patrick Speight

    Ray Lazama vs. Justin Levens