Ariel Helwani, on his quest to find out what is going on with Tito Ortiz and Affliction, spoke to Donald Trump Jr. about his thoughts on the situation. Like Affliction COO Michael D. Cohen, Trump Jr. feels Tito’s asking price is unrealistic, and even went as far as to say he was “shocked” by Tito’s first offer.
“It was a bit of a shock to us…I can’t make it a one man show or the Tito Ortiz show giving him more than a guy like Fedor who is coming in here with a winning record…I was (disappointed). I was shocked. It was almost like don’t even bother calling back because there is no point in making a deal here…it was aggressive.”
“There’s nothing concrete as of yet. If we can come to something, great. If not, so be it.”
“I think Tito’s obviously a good draw and he’d be good to have for a show. To say anything else would be stupid. However, that draw comes with an expense. In the cost-benefit analysis the question is, is it worth it? The answer is, at those numbers, definitely not.”
“I was very shocked when I read the first offer.”
When asked about Affliction having intentions to strike a much needed television deal, Trump Jr. responded by pointing out their relationship with NBC from The Apprentice. According to Trump Jr., they do have plans to talk to NBC about a possible network television deal, but only after Affliction has established a track record of consistency and success to gain a higher position of leverage in negotiations.
That’s great and all, but the problem is the only proven track record of success in the history of MMA started with television, not the other way around. Plus, even the UFC hasn’t been able to get a favorable network television deal, and I can’t imagine Affliction gaining anywhere near the level of bargaining power the UFC has anytime soon. Of course, EliteXC has proven striking a network television deal without any kind of leverage doesn’t equate to profitability either.
The whole interview is very interesting, so check it out if you have twenty minutes to spare.