Affliction VP Atencio: 'I love this sport, but I hate this feeling'
MMAWeekly.com on Sunday caught up with Affliction promoter and sometime fighter Tom Atencio as he recovered from his fight with Randy Hedderick at "Ultimate Chaos" on Saturday in Biloxi, Miss. On Monday, Atencio heads to Germany for Bread and Butter, a fashion trade show, before heading back to California to begin work on the company's August event, Affliction "Trilogy."
MMAWeekly: Congratulations on your fight. You got caught with a pretty big shot and went down in the first. Was it one of those shots where you wake up on the canvas?
Atencio: Dude, I don't remember (expletive). All I remember was being on my back and him above me and me kicking away, and just scrambling to get my wits, just get back in the game.
MMAWeekly: Were you back mentally in the second?
Atencio: Oh yeah, second round, I felt fine. Actually, when we got back up again and started brawling, I was fine. It was just a flash knockout. I didn't even know until I watched the video last night. I saw myself wobble and go down. I literally just remember being on my back.
MMAWeekly: Do you remember the rest of the fight?
Atencio: Yeah, I totally do.
MMAWeekly: How do you feel about the fight overall and the experience? Is it true that this is it for you, or are you waiting longer to get some perspective?
Atencio: I'm gonna figure out where to go from here. I love this sport, but I hate this feeling. I feel like a Mack Truck hit me. My whole body hurts. It's hard to walk or do anything. But I just love it. Yeah, it was everything I've always known. It was a war. And there's nothing better than knowing he was beating my ass and I came back from a virtual loss. I don't know; it's weird that I love it.
MMAWeekly: Have you ever been hit that hard before?
Atencio: When I used to train with Marco Ruas; Marco's an animal. I used to spar with Brett Cooper and he's hit me, actually broke my nose. JJ Ambrose broke my nose, and dropped me once. My old best friend Justin Levens dropped me a few times, too. So I've been hit. I knew that he wasn't going to do anything that I haven't experienced, but I gotta say, he dropped me, man. I wasn't expecting that.
MMAWeekly: Do you know why he quit after the second round?
Atencio: I don't know why he quit. I don't know if it was his cardio ... everyone said I broke his nose. I would assume a combination of the two.
MMAWeekly:One of your first comments after the fight was addressing Dana White in a somewhat direct way. Why did you do that?
Atencio: Because he was just a nice kid. I think to say that he was a nobody and a nothing is presumptuous, one, and two, I always say I have a lot of respect for anybody that steps in the cage. I don't care if you've lost every single fight. At least you're the one doing it. For somebody to criticize that, I just think it's wrong.
MMAWeekly: Can you confirm Yvel vs. Buentello at Affliction 3?
Atencio: Yep, that's the fight. I feel bad for Pedro. I'd like to find out how Pedro is doing.
MMAWeekly: After you get back from Germany, is it full steam ahead with Trilogy?
Atencio: Yeah, absolutely. My people are handling Trilogy now, and when I get back, it's full swing. And I know people are already talking about me fighting again, so I have to figure that out. I don't know what I'm going to do.
MMAWeekly: Any word about Gomi? Any progress with him coming to Affliction?
Atencio: Yeah, we're still working on it, we're finalizing everything, but it looks like it's gonna go through. I'm not 100 percent yet, but we're still working on it for sure.
MMAWeekly: Any possible opponents?
Atencio: I don't want to say because it's up in the air.
MMAWeekly: What about Lindland?
Atencio: Nah, we're not going to use Matt this fight.
MMAWeekly: Are you going to use him again or is he done?
Atencio: Yeah, you know, it's just like Tim Sylvia. We couldn't use him in the second fight because he lost, and for us to bring him back again, we might as well bring everybody back, and then no one will show up for the fights. But we have to switch it up. If somebody wins, yeah, we'll bring him back, but it's only our third fight.
We've Got Apps Too
Get expert analysis, unrivaled access, and the award-winning storytelling only SI can provide—from Peter King, Tom Verducci, Lee Jenkins, Andy Staples, Grant Wahl, and more—delivered straight to you, along with up-to-the-minute news and live scores.