If you thought today’s announcement that Affliction fighters Andrei Arlovski and Roy Nelson have been added to EliteXC “Heat” was pretty crazy, wait till you hear this. Sergio Non of USA Today spoke with Affliction Entertainment COO Michael Cohen about the EliteXC co-promotion earlier today, and what he said could potentially be huge.
Elite XC and Affliction will also co-promote Affliction’s next event with Golden Boy Promotions, now scheduled for Jan. 24, Cohen said. That fight will air either on CBS or Showtime, he said.
“We truly believe this co-promote will help the sport to become more mainstream,” Cohen told me on Wednesday. “Fans should certainly look forward to seeing more fights on primetime television and Showtime.”
Now keep in mind that Cohen tends to exaggerate pretty much everything that comes out of his mouth, however this seems pretty straight forward. Assuming this is true, that could mean Fedor Emelianenko and Kimbo Slice could be fighting on the same card (hopefully not against each other) on primetime network television. Who would have ever thought that would happen?
There are a few things to consider though. This assumes that EliteXC will still have a deal with CBS come January. ProElite signed a four event deal with CBS, but if “Heat” bombs, CBS may not give them that fourth event. Assuming CBS doesn’t drop them, there’s also the issue of money. EliteXC is making peanuts from the CBS deal, less than a million dollars an event according to their filings. The Affliction-Golden Boy co-promoted event was supposed to be on pay-per-view, but if it happens on CBS, everyone involved would seemingly stand to lose a great deal of money. That may be acceptable to EliteXC and Affliction who are used to losing money, but I can’t imagine Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions would be ok with it. Speaking of Golden Boy, as we previously reported, the preliminary plans would put a boxing match in the main event of these co-promoted events with a full MMA card underneath. Considering that CBS has only given EliteXC a two hour time slot for their first two events, how would they fit in a 12-round boxing match in addition to the MMA fights? Let’s also not forget that someone still has to rescue ProElite before the end of the year.
I don’t want to say that it’s impossible, but there certainly seems like quite a few major obstacles to hurdle, not to mention that’s an awful lot of cooks in one kitchen.
That said, if it does happen, it has the potential to be a very big deal. As Steve Sievert said in his theoretical Affliction-EliteXC merger article, both Affliction and EliteXC has what the other needs. EliteXC has the television deals and Affliction has the fighters. If they can work to combine those assets, they have a much better chance of emerging as a legitimate competitor to the UFC. Such a partnership could also give Fedor the exposure he desperately needs in North America. If he can gain anywhere near the level of popularity in North America that he has in other parts of the world, Affliction-EliteXC-Golden Boy could find themselves with an extremely valuable asset that the UFC doesn’t have.
In related news, it appears Roy Nelson wasn’t the first choice to face Andrei Arlovski on EliteXC “Heat.” According to Tom Atencio, the original “Day of Reckoning” headliner between Arlovski and Josh Barnett was the initial proposal.
“It was going to be Arlovski versus (Josh) Barnett,” Atencio said. “But what happened was we couldn’t finalize a deal with Barnett and he went to sign with Sengoku.”
Now, rumor has it that Affliction asked Barnett to take a pay cut to fight on EliteXC’s CBS card, but Barnett refused. However, Atencio confirmed that Arlovski and Nelson are receiving different purses than they would have on Oct. 11’s Affliction pay-per-view, so it sounds like that was most likely the case.
Atencio also made another attempt to make it crystal clear that Fedor would be fighting for them next, and not in Japan on NYE.
“I spoke with Fedor’s people at M-1yesterday after reading everything on the Internet,” Atencio said. “And they assured me that he is with us and he will be fighting for us next.”
I don’t know about you, but I’m still waiting to hear from Fedor’s people before I get my hopes up.
I read somewhere that I had declined the fight because I would have had to take a pay cut. I suppose others may also formulate some story about me declining the fight for other reasons.
I never declined to take this fight. I was never told that I would have any part of my pay reduced since working with Affliction. To my knowledge, no one has been asked to take a pay cut that fights for Affliction.
I did not turn down this fight.
Very odd. We have Tom Atencio saying they couldn’t reach a deal with Barnett, and Barnett basically saying he knows nothing about it, and they’re supposedly buddies. Mark Dion isn’t Barnett’s manager, is he? That was rhetorical, but unless one of them is lying, it sounds like Barnett’s manager isn’t informing him about what’s on the table.
[UPDATE 9/25/08 11:12AM ET] – Apparently there was a little miscommunication between Sergio Non and Michael D. Cohen. Cohen tells Five Oz. that the USA Today report wasn’t entirely accurate.
“The report by Sergio Non is not entirely accurate,” said Cohen. “The way that the statement was supposed to read is that the event we’re concentrating on right now is the Oct. 4 event with CBS, SHOWTIME, and EliteXC.
“The question that was asked of me was ‘We understand that you have a Jan. 24 event that’s being planned as well. Will this event be aired on SHOWTIME or through CBS?’ My answer again to him was, ‘We’re certainly looking forward to a long-standing relationship or an ongoing relationship with CBS and SHOWTIME as well as Elite. But right now we’re concentrating on the Oct. 4 event and have not inked a deal for any future events.'”
Sources at Showtime also informed Five Oz. that there is no deal in place for a Jan. 24 event. Something had to give, it was way too far into “too good to be true” territory.