Affliction Goes Nascar Racing This Weekend
Affliction Entertainment teams up with NASCAR's Michael Waltrip Racing for this weekend's Pepsi 500 at the Auto Club Speedway in San Bernardino County, Calif. for a one-race deal to sponsor the No. 00 car driven by Mike Skinner.
The Affliction "Day of Reckoning" sponsored Toyota will be "fully wrapped" with graphics promoting the upcoming Oct. 11 pay-per-view event at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas. Top 5 ranked heavyweights and former Ultimate Fighting Championship titleholders Josh Barnett and Andrei Arlovski headline Affliction’s sophomore effort.
"Affliction is proud to make racing history as the first MMA organization to sponsor a car in NASCAR," said Tom Atencio, vice president of Affliction Entertainment. "NASCAR fans are huge supporters of MMA and this is a great collaboration for both sports."
"It's great to have Affliction Entertainment as a Michael Waltrip Racing partner," said Michael Waltrip, driver of the No. 55 NAPA AUTO PARTS Toyota and founder of Michael Waltrip Racing. "Our partnership with Affliction and MMA allows us to connect with millions of fans in a unique way."
In addition to Affliction's sponsorship of the Michael Waltrip Racing No. 00 entry, the company will work with Auto Club Speedway to promote "Day of Reckoning" to the multitude of fans who attend the events planned at the speedway this Labor Day weekend. Utilizing the venue's multiple promotional opportunities, Affliction and Auto Club Speedway have packaged a mixture of promotional opportunities to make the fans aware of Affliction's upcoming event.
The No. 00 Toyota is 37th in owner points in stockcar racing's premier division, the Sprint Cup Series. The top 35 in owner points are guaranteed a starting position in the race, although only 44 cars are attempting to make the 43-car field.
If qualifying is canceled due to rain, the Affliction sponsored car will be on the starting grid. The only way it will not make the race is if Johnny Sauter, Patrick Carpentier, Marcos Ambrose, Kyle Petty, Tony Raines, Joe Nemecheck, A.J. Almendinger and Brad Coleman all post faster qualifying speeds.
Robert Drysdale to make MMA debut
PRO MMA has just learned that the Xtreme Couture BJJ instructor and grappling phenom, Robert Drysdale is set to make his amateur MMA debut at Tuff-N-Uff’s Future Stars of MMA on October 17 at the Orleans Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.
Whenever we speak to fighters from the Xtreme Couture gym in Vegas, one name always comes up when the subject of grappling is raised, and that is Robert Drysdale. His name seems to have reached almost mythical proportions and this has stemmed from the way top level professional fighters describe his grappling abilities.
Now while MMA is a different ballgame than straight jiu-jitsu, Drysdale is certainly surrounded by some of the best fighters in the game at Couture’s that can help round out his skills. I certainly would not want to learn that one of the first fights in my amateur career would be against Robert Drysdale. No opponent has been named yet. Hopefully Tuff-N-Uff can find an amateur willing to get in there with him.
Gan "The Giant" McGee will launch his long-awaited MMA comeback
Gan "The Giant" McGee will launch his long-awaited MMA comeback on September 13, headlining Xtreme Fighting Championships (XFC)'s "Salute to Our Armed Forces 5" at the St. Pete Times Forum in Tampa, Florida against veteran Johnathan Ivey. Live web-streaming of the fight card will be available at www.mmaxfc.com. McGee revealed the ten fighters he's most looking forward to facing in the cage.
Affliction Lightens Up October Card
Although Affliction has been best known for its Heavyweights so far, the promotion has decided to go a little lighter with one fight on its October 11 card, making an Albert Rios vs. Antonio Duarte fight. The Featherweight fight reflects Affliction's plans to expand into lighter weight classes.
Matt Lindland vs. Trevor Prangley Set for Affliction 2
"sources close to the bout" have confirmed to MMAJunkie that the wrestler/fighter/aspiring politician from Oregon will now face South Africa's Trevor Prangley at Affliction's "Day of Reckoning" show. Belfort had previously mentioned that he would fight Lindland for "a title" - presumably the WAMMA middleweight belt - but the sources don't mention if a championship will be up for grabs. The 36-year old UFC and bodogFight veteran Prangley last competed in Strikeforce's "Four Men Enter, One Man Survives" one-night tournament in November of 2007, where he won an opening round decision against Falaniko Vitale but was later upset by Jorge Santiago.
Drew Fickett vs. Jay Hieron Affliction fight likely October 11
It appears Drew Fickett may have finally been able to move ahead and put his personal problems behind him.
Sherdog.com has been able to confirm that former International Fight League welterweight champion Jay Hieron (15-4) has verbally accepted an offer to fight “The Master” on October 11 at Affliction: “Day of Reckoning”.
Fickett (35-6) has competed as recently as August 8, submitting Joe Manzello at Silver Crown Fights (SCF) in round one. He had aligned himself with EliteXC earlier this year, but his much ballyhooed bout with Jake Shields never materialized to due injuries and scheduling conflicts on both sides.
From there, Fickett was plagued with personal problems including a messy contract dispute with Canada’s Maximum Fighting Championship. After eventually parting ways with EliteXC, Fickett fought twice for Rage in the Cage, going 1-1 before his most recent match at SCF.
Now he has his stiffest test in quite some time against the venerable Hieron.
The former IFL warrior is coming off a first round drubbing of Mark Miller at IFL: ‘New Jersey’ last April. When the troubled company went belly-up shortly thereafter, Hieron settled on a three-fight contract with Affliction after being courted by the UFC, Elite XC and Strikeforce.
Affliction “Day of Reckoning” takes place on October 11 at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada, featuring the main event of Josh “The Babyface Assassin” Barnett (23-5) vs. Andrei “The Pitbull” Arlovski (13-5).
Hieron Agrees to Fickett at Affliction 2
Former International Fight League welterweight champion Jay Hieron (Pictures) has verbally accepted an offer to take on Drew Fickett (Pictures) at Affliction 2 “Day of Reckoning” on Oct. 11 at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas.
Fickett’s manager, Alexander Oxendine of 2 A-T Media, confirmed his client had been made an offer and negotiations are ongoing.
“We’re in discussion with a few organizations and Affliction is one of them,” said Oxendine. “They are at the top of our list. As far as Drew is concerned, he’s made a great turnaround with his life and training. He is ready to move forward.”
Since his last UFC bout in April 2007, Fickett’s career has seemed to be a rollercoaster ride outside of the cage.
An on-again off-again title bout against EliteXC welterweight champion Jake Shields (Pictures) never got off the ground due to injuries to both participants, which led to scheduling difficulties later down the road.
After a handful of failed attempts, EliteXC representatives said Fickett’s “personal problems” had taken a toll on their relationship with the wayward fighter, and they planned to release him from his contract.
In June, Fickett attempted to step in and fight Luke Stewart (Pictures) for a Strikeforce event in San Jose, Calif. However, a battle over Fickett’s contract obligations with Canada’s Maximum Fighting Championship and its owner Mark Pavelich spilled onto the Internet, as the fighter had supposedly already been booked for a July 25 MFC card.
“He’s ready to move forward and handle himself professionally,” says Oxendine of Fickett’s last few months. “He wants to take his fighting career seriously and to the next level.”
Mike Van Arsdale plans comeback, signs with American Fight League
Veteran light heavyweight and former UFC fighter Mike Van Arsdale (8-5) will return from a two-year layoff and make his comeback with the upstart American Fight League.
MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) today confirmed the signing with AFL officials, who said Van Arsdale will be part of the organization's pay-per-view debut, which takes place sometime in November.
Van Arsdale, 43, could be an opponent for another 205-pounder the AFL hopes to land: former UFC champion and current free agent Tito Ortiz.
Van Arsdale, a stand-out high school and collegiate wrestler at Iowa State University, began his career with an 8-1 record and earned a spot on the UFC's roster. However, after suffering four consecutive losses (to notables such as Randy Couture, Renato "Babalu" Sobral and Matt Lindland), Van Arsdale walked away from competition.
He hasn't competed since April 2006 and has been healing from an array of injuries.
"This is huge for us," said AFL CEO BJ Santiago, who recently signed top female fighter Tara LaRosa, former WWE star Bobby Lashley and a host of UFC veterans. "Van is a scary, freak-of-nature-type athlete who has a terrific wrestling and MMA pedigree. He is a class-A fighter with unbelievable potential. ... This is big for us and I think MMA in the long run."
The AFL is one of many organizations currently vying for the services of Ortiz, who recently became a free agent after fulfilling the terms of his UFC contract. As MMAjunkie.com reported earlier this week, despite claims he had agreed to a record-breaking contract with Affliction, Ortiz is again negotiating with all the sport's top players.
Not surprisingly AFL Director of Public Relations Sean McClure has an opponent in mind for Van Arsdale.
"Tito Ortiz," McClure stated. "Our operations director and one of the owners Jon Hatton has wanted to see that fight for years. Mike's wrestling is sick, and Tito is a really tough guy. It would be a good fight for Mike."
He also didn't rule out a move to middleweight for Van Arsdale.
"I would also love to see Mike fight a guy like Trevor Prangley or maybe even drop down to 185 to fight, say, a Renzo Gracie or someone like that," McClure said. "I know Mike could make 185 pounds if he wanted to. It would be up to him, and if he did want to do it, we would support it."
AFL officials said the date of their PPV debut will be announced soon. In addition to Van Arsdale, LaRosa and Lashley are also booked for the event.
Kang vs Eastman at Raw Combat
Las Vegas’ own Marvin Eastman (Pictures) is finally set to return to action. The veteran of King of the Cage, the WFA and the UFC, as well as dozens of muay Thai and K-1 fights is scheduled to tackle Denis Kang (Pictures) at RAW Combat on Oct. 25 in Alberta, Canada.
Hermes Franca 'Ready to Show My Full Potential'
Hermes Franca 'Ready to Show My Full Potential'
By Dave Carpinello
UFC Lightweight contender Hermes Franca took some time to talk with PDG after his trip to New York about his comeback, future opponents and his upcoming fight with Gleison Tibau at UFC 90 in Chicago.
PDG: All right, let's talk just a little bit about the past; did it bother you at all that you served a full one-year suspension and Sean Sherk only had to sit out six months?
Franca: It doesn't bother me because it was my problem and my fault. I told the commission the truth and it doesn't matter to me what Sherk told them. It is just great to be back and the commission has a lot of great guys that came up to me at my last fight and told me they were glad to have me back. They told me I was the man and I had balls because I told the truth which apparently a lot of people don't.
Rodrigo Damm Ready For Sengoku
Rodrigo Damm’s debut on MMA wasn’t like he was expecting, but since then everything is perfect. With eight straight wins, Damm will be at Sengoku’s lightweight GP, that starts at August 24th, against Eiji Matsuoka. Training at Minotauro Team (Rodrigo Nogueira and Anderson Silva’s team), Damm is focused on the title to earn a chance to fight Takanori Gomi. In an interview to TATAME, the athlete spoke about his beginning in MMA, his training at Nogueira’s team, about his sister (Carina Damm) and his preparation to the GP. Check below the complete interview.
Schoenauer, Gunderson to fight for PFC
The latest IFL fighters to find new homes are Alex Schoenauer and John Gunderson, who will compete for the Palace Fighting Championship promotion.
They'll continue their mixed martial arts career, at least for now, with the Lemoore, California-based promotion launched in Jan. 2007 to fill the void left at the Tachi Palace Hotel & Casino when Zuffa purchased the WEC and moved it to Las Vegas.
Schoenauer (14-9) and Gunderson (15-5) could see promotional debuts at PFC 11 on Nov. 20 in Lemoore, California.
Here's a list of where other IFL stars have ended up since the promotion closed its doors...
WVR Updates Sengoku Cards
World Victory Road today announced the official card and fight order for its Sengoku 4 show next week and also announced more details for Sengoku 5. Notable items were adding Yuki Sasaki to the Middleweight GP and confirming participation of Roger Gracie and Jorge Masvidal, among others.
Affliction Debut May Have Sold 100,000 PPV's After All
It would seem that Tom Atencio's early estimates of Afflictions PPV buy rates may have been accurate after all.
Atencio came under fire for allegedly inflating projections of Affliction: Banned PPV buys when he stated that the buys where over 100,000. Dave Meltzer of the Wrestling Observer was the first to point out that the numbers looked a bit fishy.
Meltzer, at the time, estimated that the number was not over 100,000, stating that buy rate was likely closer to between 50,000 and 85,000.
Meltzer is now updating his original assessment:
It’s been hard to narrow down a buy rate for the Affliction show. Promoter Tom Atencio has claimed the figure was more than 100,000. Updated cable sources we’ve checked with have estimated from a low of 65,000 to a high of 100,000.
Kang Talks Upcoming Fights, Future Plans
Coming off back-to-back losses that have put him outside the Top 10 Middleweight rankings, Denis Kang plans on staying busy the rest of the year, with no fewer than 2 fights ahead and possibly returning to the US or Canada in the future.