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Tom Atencio, Affliction VP, Addresses Fighter Pay Rumors

Tom Atencio, Affliction VPRumors have been flying since word got out that Affliction was putting together a monster of a MMA event. Big name fighters, like Fedor, Sylvia, Barnett, Lindland, Babalu, Rothwell and Arlovski, were being thrown around, which were quickly followed by an unprecedented fighter payroll—$5-6 million. With the exception of Arlovski (at least presently), all rumored names have been confirmed by Affliction to compete at their debut event, ‘Banned’.

However, Affliction VP Tom Atencio tells MMAWeekly that the figures floating out there just aren’t true, including meeting Emelianenko’s reported $1.5-2 million asking price.

“Not true. They’re rumors, they’re all rumors.”

Atencio wouldn’t disclose Emelianenko’s base pay, but said, “It’s a considerable amount of money, but it’s not what everybody says.”

Atencio affirms that Affliction doesn’t expect to make money on their first show, but the hope is to turn a profit on their second and third shows, which are planned for October and February. At that point, Affliction and their partners will evaluate their position and go from there.

“This is new to us, so we’re going to take it step by step.”

Even if Affliction is only spending half of the rumored $5-6 million, it is still one hell of a first step. As a fan, I love what Affliction is putting together, but I can’t help but wonder how they will succeed where so many others have failed.

Television is key, and even that doesn’t equate to automatic success, but Affliction doesn’t have that. HDNet just isn’t enough even if they did secure a deal, so how can they turn a profit without the necessary exposure?

Luck, and a lot of it. It’s how the UFC skyrocketed into mass appeal. Their luck came in the form of Forrest Griffin and Stephan Bonnar. But at least they had a vehicle for people to see it.

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