Affliction still has a few tests to pass for official go-ahead
Making news this week with a switch of venue from Dallas to Anaheim, Calif., the Affliction-branded July 19 event appears to have a nearly complete lineup ready for approval by the California State Athletic Commission.
In addition to the previously announced heavyweight clash between
The evening's undercard, which Affliction said was being negotiated for broadcast on live TV, looks competitive, too.
However, the company's first effort, dubbed "Banned" after Zuffa, owner of the UFC and WEC, and ProElite (EliteXC) stopped fighters from wearing the clothes as a reaction to Affliction's plans as a promoter, is by no means secure in the eyes of the state athletic commission.
"Hopefully I can put everybody in the same room together really, really soon," said CSAC executive officer
With Affliction wanting to attach itself to the license of Southern California club boxing and MMA promoter
After a similar situation arose when Fight Entertainment Group held an event at the Los Angeles Coliseum last June, Garcia now requires a bond that covers twice the fighters' costs. Though Atencio denied rumors of a $6 million fight purse (he claims that Emelianenko's reported $1.5 million and Sylvia's $800,000 are inflated by public discussion), he said Affliction would have no issue covering the bond.
Aside from promoter/regulatory body issues, part of the licensing process requires that both Sylvia and Barnett, former UFC heavyweight champions who tested positive for steroids during their time at the top, provide urine samples under CSAC supervision.
Affliction, a 3-year-old clothing manufacturer that initially targeted the tattoo and music crowd, threw itself into MMA in 2006 and 2007, aligning with some of the biggest names in the sport in an effort to gain awareness amongst a new audience.
MMA has been "unbelievably important" to Affliction's growth, said Atencio. The company's role in the industry was clouded, though, when it brought together Randy Couture, who is in the midst of a legal battle over his contract with UFC, and Emelianenko, the sport's best heavyweight, who, at the end of 2007, refused to sign with the UFC. The two had fans buzzing with their pre-fight-like photo.
"I never had a problem with Affliction clothing until they took a picture of Couture and Fedor with no Affliction shirts on, but it looks like a fight poster," UFC President
Atencio felt the dispute was related to the Couture-Zuffa squabble that played out in the press at the time. But depending on the July event's success, it could possibly bolster the perception that Affliction has moved into a competitor's stance against the UFC and other top promotions.
Going up against the only MMA promotion to have found success on pay-per-view, Affliction appears to be diving headfirst into a shallow pool, regardless of the money riding on the upcoming event.
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