Exclusive: Arlovski vs. Fedor likely to be scrapped, Arlovski vs Barnett expected to be the Headliner
FiveOuncesOfPain.com learned late Friday that a proposed main event for Affliction’s second-ever show on Oct. 11 between WAMMA heavyweight champion Fedor Emelianenko and Andrei Arlovski appears to be off for the time being.
A reliable source speaking on the condition of anonyomity revealed to Five Ounces of Pain that Emelianenko has been dealing with a lingering hand injury that will make it virtually impossible for him to be ready in time for Affliction’s October show at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.
Josh Barnett on Affliction return, rumored pay cuts
Despite being passed up for a shot at WAMMA heavyweight title-holder Fedor Emelianenko, and amid rumors of a possible pay-reduction request from the company's front office, heavyweight Josh Barnett (23-5) is preparing himself for a rumored October Affliction card.
Barnett discussed his possible return while a guest on "The Lights Out Show" on the TAGG Radio Network (www.taggradio.com), the official radio partner of MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).
"I've got a pro wrestling match Aug. 15 in Tokyo, Japan," Barnett said. "After that, I guess I'll be fighting someone Oct. 11. I don't know who yet."
Despite no official announcement from Affliction, Barnett feels confident the rumored show will come to fruition.
"I'm training for it," Barnett said.
Barnett, who has fought in several organizations throughout his 11-year career (including the UFC and PRIDE), said he enjoyed his first experience with the debuting Affliction promotion. The proximity of the Anaheim, Calif. show to the southern California resident's home was one reason Barnett was pleased.
"It was nice to be able to just hang out in my own house (and) drive down to the arena (and to) have all my friends and family be able to come and see me that live here in the States," Barnett said.
There was another simpler, yet important, reason Barnett hopes to return to the Affliction ring.
"I think [Affliction] is doing a pretty good job," Barnett said. "PRIDE owes me money. And the check from Affliction went through just fine. They're certainly a step up there."
After Affliction's first show, many believed a Barnett vs. Emelianenko bout would be the next logical step for both fighters. The prevailing belief at this point, however, is that Emelianenko will be paired with Belarusian heavyweight and former UFC title-holder Andrei Arlovski.
Barnett said he was unconcerned with Affliction Vice President Tom Atencio's choice of opponent.
"It's not about chasing down fights or fighters, particularly," Barnett said. "The fights will come. And I'm going to be standing on top."
Although official announcements regarding a future Affliction show have yet to be made, Barnett encouraged fans to contact the organization if a fight between "The Babyface Assassin" and "The Last Emperor" was something they wanted to see on an upcoming card.
"If people really want to see this fight, then they need to say something," Barnett said. "Write Affliction or whoever. Let it be known. If that's the fight you want to see, then say so."
With rumors swirling that Affliction may ask its fighters to take an alleged 50 percent pay decrease in the future, the possibility of a Barnett vs. Emelianenko bout may prove doubtful. But Barnett wanted everyone to know he's not opposed to the proposition.
"I know I've got a lot of great fans here, and I'm not here to let them down or sleight them," Barnett said. "There's nobody I wouldn't fight."
To hear the full interview, in which Barnett discusses other possible opponents as well as his extensive career in Japan, download Thursday's edition of "The Lights Out Show," available for free in the TAGG Radio Network archives.
The rating game: DREAM perhaps on life support, UFC turning Japanese and more
Now Japan’s DREAM (or PRIDE II, as some fans see it) is finding itself in the same murky waters. Dismal ratings have left many officials banking on its September 23 event as make-or-break for the company.
And that hardship couldn’t have come at a more opportune time for the UFC, who not coincidentally has just signed a new pay-per-view contract with Japan’s WOWOW PPV company.
Here’s an excerpt from Kamipro.com explaining the partnership:
“We finally signed a contract with the UFC on July 11. I knew this news had been rumored before we officially announced it. We used to air the UFC. We wanted to maintain our contract, but unfortunately the negotiations were broken off and we stopped broadcasting after the UFC 70 in April, 2007. They approached us again in 2008. We were planning to show the UFC in HD starting April of 2007; although the UFC terminated the contact. I remember we were very surprised and disappointed. We are basically going to show all numbering events. Their PPV packages are 3 hours. We will condense into 2 hours by picking up 5 to 6 fights.”
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.