It's been almost a month since Affliction's debut event, and the buzz is still flying. Even though Affliction, on paper, spent a reported $3.3 million on the roster for the first show, most fans believe it was a successful event. After all, Andrei Arlovski had possibly his best performance in years against Ben Rothwell. Josh Barnett was successful in his revenge victory against Pedro Rizzo. The main event, albeit short, grew Fedor Emelianenko's legacy even further with his 36-second demolition of former UFC heavyweight champion Tim Sylvia.
With all of the success that Affliction had in its debut event, it needs to keep the momentum going. Pay-per-view buys will be crucial to the promotion's success. Affliction does have the backing of multi-billionaire Donald Trump to help its credibility. Affliction Vice President Tom Atencio insisted that their debut event did over 100,000 pay-per-view buys, which would be considered a good start.
Affliction's second event will take place on Oct. 11 at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas. While the hype may not be as high for their sophomore show, Atencio remains optimistic that everything will go fine. "We're gonna go out and do the best we possibly can," he said in a recent interview with MMAWeekly Radio. "That's really what it comes down to. If we go out there and do our job and do it right, everything else will happen. It's part of marketing. There are so many different aspects that we have to bring to the table. All we can do is our job and if we do it right, we'll be successful."
The production in Affliction's debut show was good for the most part considering it was their first foray into a mixed martial arts event. There were some kinks to work out, particularly in the fighter's entrances. Realizing the mistakes made, Affliction is looking to build upon the foundation its built and work out any problems in the subsequent show.
"I think anybody that says that they're happy with everything they do is lying," stated Atencio. "There's mistakes. Did a lot of people see them? No, a lot of people said that they didn't. Did people see them? Absolutely. It was our first show out of the gate. It's not like we did this before. I think as a whole, if you look at it that way, we did a good job. Did we make mistakes? Absolutely. Are we going to correct them? Absolutely. Can we get better? 100 percent. I believe that. There were a lot of things that we were anticipating and that's okay. I think we did better than a lot of other companies did and I'm proud of them. Just minor tweaks. For the most part, everyone seems happy with what we did."
The hardest part for any upstart MMA organization is to differentiate itself from the Ultimate Fighting Championship. The UFC has dominated the mixed martial arts market for the past 15 years and doesn't show any signs of slowing. Other organizations such as the International Fight League, Pride Fighting Championships and the World Fighting Alliance have tried to compete with the UFC only to be either bought out or to fail financially.
Affliction will be striding into the lion's den on Oct. 11 in Las Vegas, which is the UFC's hometown. The main event will be between two former UFC heavyweight champions: Barnett and Arlovski. The card is also set to feature Antonio Rogerio Nogueira taking on Vladimir Matyushenko, as well as Rothwell vs. Rizzo.
Affliction believes that Las Vegas is the perfect spot to showcase its second show considering Las Vegas' reputation for hosting big fights. "MMA fighters like to fight in Vegas," explained Atencio. "Fans like to be in Vegas. I know I like to be in Vegas. It's a big event city. It makes sense to bring something there. It's a party town. It's an event town."
In some ways, the second event may be even more important than the first mainly because anybody can have a debut event. The second event is what establishes what possible longevity the promotion may have in this sport. However, Atencio and Affliction feel confident that they can hold their own and that they will be here to stay.
They have already signed an influx of talent thus far and most recently signed lightweight standout Chris Horodecki as well as established welterweight Jay Hieron. If Affliction continues to sign top talent, its stock with the fans will rise, as should their pay-per-view buys.