Affliction VP, Tom Atencio, confirmed a few more details about Affliction’s debut show, ‘Banned,’ and their future plans to Sergio Non of USA Today.
Aleksander Emelianenko vs. Paul Buentello?
A fight between Fedor Emelianenko’s brother, Aleksander Emelianenko, and UFC veteran Paul Buentello is close to being made, but Affliction is still waiting on signed contracts to come back from the fighters.
Aleksander, although not as talented as his brother, is a very dangerous fighter. He holds a 13-3 record with notable wins over Sergei Kharitonov, Assuerio Silva, and James Thompson. His three losses come at the hands of top heavyweights Josh Barnett, Fabricio Werdum and Mirko Cro Cop. Many consider Aleksander to reside just outside of the top ten in the heavyweight division.
Ring or Cage?
Those wishing to see how Fedor fairs in a cage will have to wait. Affliction will use the traditional ring for the event. Non points out that this should favor both fighters in the main event, but I would have to argue that the ring would give Fedor the upper hand. It could give Sylvia the chance to corner Fedor and unleash his heavy hands, but the cage allowed Sylvia to hold his opponents against it and brutalize them with knees and elbows, something we have yet to see Fedor deal with. Conversely, Fedor has competed inside the ring his entire career and knows exactly how to use it to his advantage.
It will be interesting to see how the ring plays into this matchup.
Affliction’s Strategy and Intentions
Despite titling the event ‘Banned’ as a stab back at the UFC and now EliteXC for banning their fighters from wearing Affliction-sponsored clothing, and an unprecedented payroll, Atencio asserts they are not out to compete with the UFC or EliteXC.
“We’re not looking to compete with anybody. We’re in the entertainment business. … It’s a lifestyle, it’s a culture with us.”
This is really looking more and more like a marketing tool for the Affliction brand than anything else. They have to know the chances of turning a profit on this show are slim to none. However, that strategy has cost them valuable exposure at UFC and EliteXC events that garner significantly more eyes than this show presumably will.
I’m failing to see how this is a good business decision for Affliction. Perhaps a Kimbo Slice and Gina Carano sponsorship with their upcoming exposure on network television would have given them a much higher return on investment.
Affliction plans to hold at least three events. The next show would take place in October, with the winners of the Fedor/Sylvia and Barnett/Rizzo fights facing off in the main event. If the July 19 fights go as expected, it would set up a match that hardcore fans have been pining for for years—Fedor Emelianenko vs. Josh Barnett. Many feel that Barnett has the best chance out of all the heavyweights to dethrone the Russian.
Don’t forget about Randy Couture though. He is still looming out there as the wild card. It is believed the declaratory judgment on Couture’s UFC contract will be ruled on in time for a fall showdown with Emelianenko, should the judge rule in Couture’s favor. Randy has stated many times that the fight with Fedor would take place in the fall if he is freed of his contractual obligations to the UFC in time. I expect that match would take precedence over any others.
Either way, assuming Fedor and Barnett win their respective fights, which they should, we should get to see a huge heavyweight battle this fall.
Still Negotiating with HDNet
Despite the report that came out last week, Atencio claims they are still in negotiations with HDNet for a TV deal. Affliction is aiming air the undercard on television as a lead-in to the main card which will be on PPV, with the full event being replayed a few days later on TV.
There is no word on whether or not Affliction is talking to other networks as well.
PPV Prices & Tickets
The PPV is expected to cost somewhere around $45 to $50, which falls right in line with UFC prices. This event will come hot on the heels of UFC 86, featuring Rampage Jackson and Forrest Griffin in the first UFC Light Heavyweight Championship fight in nearly a year, which is will be held just two prior to ‘Banned’ on July 5. This begs the question of how many fans, including hardcore fans, will be willing to dish out $50 twice in one month, especially during this recession.
If you can only afford one, I highly suggest you pay for the Affliction event, and catch UFC 86 at a bar or a friend’s house. Affliction’s card is much stronger.
Tickets are expected to go on sale on May 20. However, as we passed along yesterday, this date will be contingent on Affliction fulfilling the CSAC’s requirements first.
Check out more Affliction “Banned” content on MMAConvert.com.