Talkin’ MMA & Boxing with Roy Englebrecht
Promoter Roy Englebrecht talks about his successful business philosophy, his intriguing new “American Champion” reality TV show project, Affliction Banned, and much more in this interview:
BoxingInsider.com: You have been busy promoting a lot of MMA shows lately. One of the claims you like to boast about is that you are still promoting shows while other promoters like the IFL are losing tons of money. Why are you able to remain successful as a promoter while others are flailing around in the business?
Roy Englebrecht: Deliver good shows, at good prices, in clean venues, and say thank you. Fans will come back. Also, I am a minor league operator, while the others thought they were major league without any experience.
BoxingInsider.com: Besides promoting boxing events in cities such as Irvine, CA you have also been involved in Fight Promoter University. Tell us a little bit about how this project started, why you started it, and who some of the more successful students to come out of the class have been.
Roy Englebrecht: The fight business has been very good to me and I wanted to give something back. It just made me so sad to see promoters, who meant well, lose $25,000 on a show and were never heard from again. I want everyone to have a chance to be successful. We have had graduates be successful in Ohio, PA, Boston, California, Texas.
Belfort vs. Lindland for Affliction's MW belt
The knockout over Terry Martin at Affliction’s first edition didn’t only put Vitor Belfort back to victories, but can get him a title fight. Belfort’s broken hand might not be a trouble for his next fight. “The doctor will analyze it, but I may stay four weeks out. I’ll come back in October 11th to fight Matt Lindland for the belt”, told the athlete, that will face the Fábio Negão’s opponent on Affliction’s first event.
“It’ll be a great fight, we’ll see who is the best of the world there”, said Belfort, that guarantees his style will be a problem for Lindland. “I saw his fight with Negão and he’s a warrior... He comes be over you, but I don’t think he has the strength to stay over me”, analyzes Vitor, that wants another knockout on his career. “I’ll go to knock him out… My punches are well-aimed and when it hits he won’t stand”, guarantees Belfort.
Mike Whitehead recovering from pre-Affliction injury
Less than two weeks after a unanimous decision loss to Renato "Babalu" Sobral at "Affliction: Banned" ended his 12-fight win streak, veteran light-heavyweight Mike Whitehead (23-7) is looking to heal a broken hand in time for Affliction's second card.
While Whitehead did his best to keep the news from going public, the pre-fight injury was brought up while Whitehead was a guest on a recent edition of TAGG Radio (www.taggradio.com), the official radio partner of MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).
"(The injury happened) about two-and-a-half weeks before the fight," Whitehead said. "I punched (training partner) Wanderlei (Silva) in the top of the head and I broke my hand."
Whitehead said the injury caused him to adjust his game plan dramatically.
Affliction VP Stands By PPV Numbers
Much speculation has surrounded the financial success of Affliction's debut as a mixed martial arts promoter. With a confirmed three million dollar payroll on July 19th, as well as a fifteen thousand seat arena to fill, it seemed a tall order for the clothing company to end up in the black.
But Affliction VP says that the money pit that many imagined wasn't as deep as expected. He won't give specific numbers on its pay per view performance. Like his sometime antagonist, UFC president Dana White, he believes that when people know how much money you make, it creates problems.
"It's been my experience that the UFC doesn't release their numbers, and I try to learn from other companies with mistakes and what they're doing right," Atencio said.
Heath Signs Multi-Fight Deal With MFC
Following his release from the Ultimate Fighting Championship earlier this year, David Heath has signed a multi-fight deal with the Canada-based Maximum Fighting Championship.
The organization announced the signing of Heath in a press release sent out to the media this morning. No indication has been made as of yet by MFC President Mark Pavelich concerning a potential debut date and opponent for him.
After racking up five straight wins in smaller shows, Heath busted onto the UFC light heavyweight scene almost two years ago, winning consecutive over Victor Valimaki and Cory Walmsley. However Heath’s quick success earned him matchups against much tougher opponents and the Oklahoma native ended up dropping his next three UFC bouts. He was last stopped by replacement opponent Tim Boetsch at UFC 81: Breaking Point in February before his contract was terminated.
Emelianenko and Sylvia among lengthy "Affliction: Banned" medical suspensions
The California State Athletic Commission has issued a total of nine fighters, including headliners Fedor Emelianenko and Tim Sylvia, medical suspensions stemming from the July 19 "Affliction: Banned" event.
MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) today received the list of suspensions from the CSAC.
The recent pay-per-view and FSN event took place at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif., and was the debut show for the upstart Affliction Entertainment promotion.
The full list of suspensions included:
Tito Ortiz Not Yet Signed To Affliction
Former UFC light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz is not out of the Octagon just yet.
Despite several published reports of Ortiz’s whereabouts, Affliction Vice President Tom Atencio today told MMAWeekly.com that he has not signed the popular UFC fighter. Atencio claims that Ortiz’s promotional contract with the Las Vegas based company precludes that.
“I can’t talk to Tito until after August 3rd,” Atencio says. “Everybody just wants to read into it and put whatever they want on the internet.”
Aleksander Emelianenko Reveals The Real Reason He Was Removed From Affliction: Banned
Days after Aleksander Emelianenko was forced to withdraw from Affliction: Banned due what the CSAC termed as "failing to meet all licensing requirements", heavy rumors persisted that Emelianenko had contracted hepatitis B and could possibly be forced into early retirement.
Aleksander spoke out today about the real reasons behind his dismissal from Affliction's inaugural event and addressed rumored health concerns in an interview with Life.ru
Below is a brief description of the interview:
Fedor Made 1.6 Million For Affliction: Banned
Yesterday, a very reliable source informed Fightline.com that Fedor Emelianenko received a "substantial" bonus before his fight with Tim Sylvia.
Today, Fightline.com has learned that the bonus was 1.3 million dollars, putting Emelianenko's final take at 1.6 million dollars. That's quite substantial.
Eyebrows were raised when the California State Athletic Commission released the promotions payouts and it was revealed that Emelianenko ($300,000) received less than half of what his opponent Tim Sylvia ($800,000) received; this after Fedor demolished Sylvia in under a minute.
WEC lightweight Sergio Gomez to headline FCC 36
WEC lightweight Sergio Gomez is slated to main event Freestyle Combat Challenge 36 Saturday, September 12 at Marina Shores in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
A source close to Gomez told MMAFighting.com that the Dave Strasser's Freestyle Academy fighter received permission from the WEC to take this fight to shake off ring rust. Gomez is expected to return to the WEC in December.
Gomez (7-2) landed himself a contract with the WEC after opening his professional mixed martial arts career with six straight wins. However, Gomez is still searching for his first win within the organization. In his WEC debut in May 2007 which was profiled in the reality show "Tapout," he suffered a second round submission loss to the still undefeated Marcus Hicks. In March, Gomez lost a unanimous decision to former title contender Richard Crunkilton that was later received Fight of the Night honors.
Cro Cop vs. Akiyama ???
Buried at the end of Dave Meltzer’s latest column at Yahoo! Sports regarding the health of the MMA business is this little tidbit about DREAM’s possible plans to put a fight together between Japan’s most hated fighter, Yoshihiro Akiyama, and their most beloved foreign fighter, Mirko Cro Cop:
Under the gun to draw ratings, the company is attempting to put together middleweight Akiyama against heavyweight Mirko Cro Cop, the country’s most popular foreign fighter.
Really? A top tier middlweight against a top tier heavyweight? Is DREAM doing so bad that it would really put this matchup together? It seems a little farfetched, especially since Cro Cop vs. Allistair Overeem is being rumored for the next DREAM, but Japanese promotions have done crazier fights in the past. Usually freakshow fights favor one fighter heavily over the other, such as Choi vs. Fedor, but this is a matchup that I have no interest in seeing. Perhaps the Japanese simply want to see Akiyama get smashed by Cro Cop because they hate him so much? That’s the only plausible reason I could see for putting on this fight. Here’s to hoping it doesn’t happen, but don’t color me surprised if it does.
I think this fight is far more likely to happen than the Overeem fight.
Affliction's Justin Levens tests positive for oxymorphone
Veteran fighter Justin Levens, who was scheduled to fight Ray Lazama in an "Affliction: Banned" bout that was ultimately scrapped due to time constraints, tested positive for oxymorphone in a drug test administered at the July 19 event.
California State Athletic Commission Assistant Executive Officer Bill Douglas confirmed the news with MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) via email.
The news comes just hours after the Nevada State Athletic Commission confirmed that UFC Fight Night 14 headliner James Irvin had tested positive for the same painkiller.
According to Douglas, Levens registered a test level that was finalized at 10,141 ng/mL. The CSAC's cutoff for oxymorphone is 120 ng/mL.
Freddie Roach: Andrei Arlovski Could Fight Klitschko
The top boxing coach Freddie Roach worked with Andrei Arlovski before his fight with Ben Rothwell at Affliction: Banned. After comprehensively defeating Rothwell - Arlovski is next in line to take on newly crowned WAMMA Heavyweight champion Fedor Emelianenko.
Roach believes that “The Pitbull” may have an eye on another world champion - Wladimir Klitschko.
In an interview with Fighthype.com, Roach said:
“I thought Andrei fought a great fight. I’ve been training his hands and I think he won the fight with his hands pretty much and I was happy about that. His ground game looked okay, but I don’t know nothing about that (laughing).”
“Yeah, we were working on combinations. I thought he varied his punches very well. His opponent was very tough. I was surprised he took so much punishment. He hung in there.”
“Andrei is not a boring fighter.”
Arona: ''UFC Rules Were Made For Me
Nearly 16 months have passed since Ricardo Arona (Pictures), a man once universally received as one of the world’s premier light heavyweights, appeared on the mixed martial arts scene. A former open-weight winner at the Abu Dhabi Combat Club Submission Wrestling World Championships, the elusive 30-year-old holds wins over Wanderlei Silva (Pictures) and Dan Henderson (Pictures) and went the distance with Fedor Emelianenko (Pictures).
Arona last fought in April 2007, when he succumbed to strikes against Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou (Pictures) at the Pride Fighting Championships swan song -- Pride 34 “Kamikaze” -- in Japan.
Do Affliction’s numbers smell fishy?
At first glance, it appeared that Affliction’s first-ever pay-per-view on July 19 in Anaheim was a relative success story. It was announced that the Honda Center sold out for “Banned” and Tom Atencio, the company’s Vice President, stated that PPV buys were expected to be over 100,000.
While the 100,000 mark would have been well short of the UFC’s average, it still would have been a milestone for the fledgling company, as it would have represented the highest total in MMA for a non-UFC PPV in the United States.
However, it appears that Atencio may have mis-spoke, as Dave Meltzer of Yahoo! Sports is indicating that early-cable estimates peg the buys in a range between 50,000-85,000. It had been believed that the event would need to do 250,000-300,000 buys to have a chance to break even.