Affliction VP Tom Atencio and Affliction Entertainment COO Michael D. Cohen have stepped up to the plate to comment on today’s news that Affliction has moved their second event from Oct. 11 to Jan. 17.
I’ll start with Cohen. According to him, there’s a major industry altering announcement forthcoming.
At this present moment, I can not give the reason but what I can tell you is that there is going to be a public announcement made and this announcement is truly going to change the world of mixed martial arts. Unlike other similar statements made, the press conference that will be had in the near future will have the affect as I described it.
Within two weeks. We are truly hoping that it will be within one week, but the reality is two weeks. MMA fans all around the world will understand the reason for the postponement of the event. And something I want to make clear to all the readers whether it’s on MMARated.com or any other website out there: The event has not been cancelled, it’s postponed, and the reasons will become very apparent to all.
It gets better. Cohen goes to say that after this announcement, “things will change as far as the UFC is concerned.” Whatever that means. If you’re thinking Tito Ortiz after his statements to MMAWeekly.com today, think again. Cage Potato’s Ben Fowlkes contacted Cohen and asked him if Tito was the announcement, to which he responded, “absolutely not.”
Cohen also wanted to make it clear that ticket sales were not the primary factor behind the change in venue and date, and that they haven’t spent any money on advertising yet. I can only assume he means the Trump organization didn’t spend any money on advertisements. Somebody had to pay for the NASCAR sponsorship and Times Square billboard.
While Cohen took the earth shattering news approach, Atencio was a little more grounded in his comments.
“We not canceling it, we’re not postponing it, we’re rescheduling it completely,” he said. “It doesn’t make sense to do it where we wanted to do it, it’s a positive.”
Sources close to the venue had informed MMAWeekly.com that ticket sales thus far have been “abysmal.” Atencio conceded that ticket sales for “Day of Reckoning” were weak.
“Of course,” he said. “It was a business decision. We came out strong, and we want to continue with that momentum and continue strong. We don’t want to come out and be weak and have to give tickets away. We want to continue to be a force in this industry.”
Atencio declined to comment whether Fedor Emelianenko would spearhead the show’s new Jan. 17 date, but promised an announcement about the company’s future at the Marquez/Casamayor fight in Las Vegas on Saturday.
“From a business standpoint, we don’t want to lose money,” he said. “We want to be here long term. It’s a wise choice. This is definitely a positive.”
So basically, Affliction was hoping to ride the wave of momentum from “Banned,” but when they had a hard time promoting in Vegas, lost all the buzz they had two months ago, and ticket sales were “abysmal,” they decided to “reschedule” the event.
In what seems to be a PR move to drum up interest again, they’re also hinting at this major announcement. What it could be, who knows? Maybe a boxing co-promotion? Not sure why else Atencio would make the announcement at a boxing event. Whatever it is, I wouldn’t count on it “changing the world of mixed martial arts.” Cohen tends to exaggerate EVERYTHING.
[UPDATE 9/10/08 8:10PM ET] – Michael D. Cohen also spoke to Mike Chiappetta of NBCSports.com. Cohen took his game changing announcement comment from above one step further by saying it would “change the dynamics of mixed martials arts. Not just nationally, but globally.”
Cohen also confirmed that Fedor Emelianenko would compete on the card, although they have yet to determine his opponent. All the fighters that were scheduled for Oct. 11 are also expected to compete in January as well. Atencio has also confirmed that Fedor will be on the card.
Chiappetta may have also got a hint as to what the announcement could be.
When asked whether the show would still air on pay-per-view, Cohen responded, “No comment,” and would not elaborate further, except to say, “Unlike others who call for a press conference for groundbreaking MMA news, the Affliction announcement will truly change the sport, and not through a toy deal.”
It would seem that a network television deal could be announcement, except that Donald Trump Jr. completely shot that notion down until Affliction has run a few more shows and established a track record of success. Like I said, Cohen exaggerates everything, but maybe they’ll surprise us all and actually announce something big.
At the very least, they at least have everyone talking about them again.