As Affliction is set to begin its foray into mixed martial arts on July 19, they won’t do it without having to face one major challenge on opening night—a live UFC event. While it would be nearly impossible for the informed to argue that the UFC’s card is superior, it does come at an attractive price—free. All of a sudden, Fedor Emelianenko’s long overdue return to facing top competition is being overshdowed by Affliction vs. The UFC, which is something Affliction VP Tom Atencio hopes to change one day.
Atencio also hopes White will eventually let down his guard and work with other organizations in an effort to declare true world champions.
“If we can all come together and work together as one organization and we have an undisputed champion — heavyweight, lightweight, middleweight, etc. — then, yeah it’s great. But is it going to happen? I don’t know.”
While it would be ideal for any new promotion to work with the market leader, as nearly all have tried, the chances of the UFC opening its doors to Affliction are worse than slim to none. There’s no incentive for the UFC to work with anybody at this point, and it would take dramatic shifts in market share to change that, which isn’t something that’s going to happen anytime in the near future.
Is it possible? The optimist in me likes to think it is. Don’t forget, you—the consumer—ultimately decides if the sport stays like it is now, or we get undisputed champions across all weight divisions with all the best fighters fighting each other.
Sounds so simple, right? If it only it was.