If you're a start-up -- and make no bones about it, when it comes to mixed martial arts promotion, Affliction (the successful clothing company) is a start-up -- aligning yourself with a multi-billionaire who authored "The Way to the Top" can't be a bad maneuver. At least that's the thinking of the brass at Affliction in partnering with business mogul Donald Trump.
Aside from his success in real estate development and television, Trump has had his hand in the fight game for a long time, primarily in boxing.
"Mike Tyson fought for me more than any other promoter," commented the real estate magnate. "To this day, we still do quite a few boxing matches and we actually do many of the MMA fights down at my hotel in Atlantic City (N.J.) called the Taj Mahal."
Jumping in as a partner on the promotional side of MMA comes to Trump two-fold. Obviously he sees a business opportunity with a group that he feels has a strong chance at success, but he also says he's a fan, something supported not only by his comments during a media conference call on Thursday, but also by his ringside presence at UFC 84 in May.
"I have so many fights that I have at different venues around the country and we've done so much of this... I also happen to enjoy it. I watch it. I like the MMA stuff," commented Trump. "It's the new wave. I don't know that it takes over for boxing, but a lot of people are watching.
"My partners are fantastic. We have a very well capitalized company, very strong. We've sold out the arena very quickly and a lot of people were surprised at how quickly, but it sold out. It's something that I do."
When he was first introduced as a partner to Affliction Entertainment, Trump was candid about his name on the project lending credibility to it, something he doesn't shy away from now. Although he didn't go into detail, he did mention that his involvement has been more extensive than he first anticipated.
"I think I do add a certain credibility. I'm a very strong partner and I'm a good partner. I've certainly done a little bit more than I thought I would have done, but that's to the good of the company," he said, adding that he has a tremendous amount of respect for the efforts of his partners.
"I am absolutely impressed with Tom (Atencio, vice president of Affliction). I am absolutely impressed with the people that (Affliction has) hired to do the show. They really have got a great group of people."
Trump is absolutely upbeat as the days wind down to the first Affliction show. You would expect nothing less from a promoter. While he believes that he and his partners will be successful, he realistic about the future of not only this, but any new company.
"Business is business and sometimes things work great and sometimes they don't work great," Trump said with candor. "This is one that I think is a natural... I really think it is going to be really successful.
"And I think that our first fight is a really good indication of that. Because, with a real start-up, and this is a start-up... that we sold out a major arena in L.A. is really an amazing thing. So I think it's going to be very successful. I'll let you know about it in a couple of years... maybe you'll let me know about it."