Posted on: July 24, 2009 9:07 pm
Edited on: July 24, 2009 9:29 pm

Report: Affliction, UFC reach business deal

Earlier today, in writing about Affliction cancelling the Trilogy pay-per-view that was set to be headlined by Fedor Emelianenko vs. Josh Barnett, I ended with a bit of speculation : "Three months from now, will there be an Affliction MMA promotion?"

As it turns out, Affliction's demise only took another three hours.

After cancelling their Aug. 1 Trilogy event, Affliction reportedly cancelled their entire future as an MMA promotion. Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports reported Friday night that Affliction had kissed and made up with the UFC, agreeing to get out of the fight promotion business in exchange for the UFC allowing Affliction to sponsor fighters in the Octagon once again.

It is unknown what will become of the fighters under contract to Affliction. The best guys on the roster will no doubt turn up in either the UFC, WEC, Strikeforce, Bellator or M-1. Some could head for Japan.

Fedor Emelianenko will be the hot property as always, but there's only one place he could make truly big money, and Dana White wants exclusivity. Time will tell if Emelianenko will finally bend on that demand and put himself in the position to fight Brock Lesnar.

The UFC expressed interest in Vitor Belfort earlier this summer, so "The Phenom's" UFC return could be right around the corner pending a release from his Affliction contract. Renato "Babalu" Sobral is the reigning Strikeforce light heavyweight champion already, so his future should be secure.

Otherwise, the upcoming weeks and months figure to be busy ones for a bunch of former Affliction fighters. Here's hoping everybody lands on their feet without too much trouble.

There will certainly be more information and news to come in what has been a ridiculous week for MMA.

Posted on: June 2, 2009 8:48 pm
Edited on: June 2, 2009 8:58 pm

After Barnett fight, will Fedor jump to UFC?

Last week, Affliction and M-1 Global issued a string of press releases alerting the media to a pair of press conferences -- one to be held Wednesday in New York, and another on Thursday in Los Angeles -- "to announce 'Trilogy,' Fedor Emelianenko vs. Josh Barnett , on August 1 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, CA; Live on Pay-Per-View."

That quote is taken directly from one of the press releases, which begs the question: What's left to announce?

Beans-spilling press releases aside, the story here is that Emelianenko vs. Barnett is finally going to happen, not that Affliction is flying people all over the country to reveal that which has already been revealed.

Fedor Emelianenko Barnett (24-5-0) has been the second-best heavyweight on the Affliction roster since virtually day one. But due to a number of circumstances -- Tim Sylvia being available to fight Fedor last summer, Andrei Arlovski getting the honors for Affliction 2 -- he has never fought "The Last Emperor." Not even in Pride, where both men enjoyed lots of career success. At last, Barnett will get his shot at the man widely considered the best heavyweight MMA fighter on this planet.

For Fedor Emelianenko (30-1-0, 1 NC), Barnett not only represents the stiffest challenge possible among guys he hasn't fought yet, but he also may be his final worthwhile opponent outside of the UFC roster. Simply put: If Emelianenko beats Barnett on Aug. 1, there will be no more credible opponents for him in any promotion other than the UFC. And that's where things get truly interesting. Consider the following:

1) After Affliction's second PPV in January, speculation swirled that the company would only promote one more show -- tentatively scheduled for the summer, as "Affliction: Trilogy" is -- before bowing out of the MMA promotion business for good. But in a recent interview with MMA FanHouse's Ariel Helwani, Affliction COO Michael Cohen not only insisted that Affliction: Trilogy would not be the last event, but he promised a fourth, fifth and sixth show.

The trouble is, Emelianenko vs. Barnett is believed to be the last remaining fight on Emelianenko's Affliction contract. If that's the case, and if Emelianenko ends up running the table on Affliction's main event-worthy heavyweights, would it be financially viable for Affliction to re-up Emelianenko if the quality of his PPV opponents will go south? Spending big for a superstar fighter is only worthwhile if the profit outweighs the expenditure, and all indications are that Affliction hasn't yet figured out how to come out of its investments with a profit.

2) If Affliction does try to re-sign Emelianenko, there's a good chance it would be for a lot less money. In this economy, the decision may not even be up to Affliction anymore. They could be willing to pay him $1 million per fight -- hypothetically, of course -- but if they can't secure the financing to pull it off, will they be willing to pay Fedor out of pocket? If the UFC can match or beat Affliction's financial offer to Emelianenko, then the only remaining roadblock to him signing with the UFC would be the exclusivity issue. Which remains a potential deal-breaker for sure, but with Emelianenko running out of options and the UFC still wanting to book him, one or both sides could budge on their demands enough to meet somewhere close to the middle. The state of the MMA business and the world economy in general means that an Emelianenko-UFC negotiation might go a little differently today than it did in 2007 or 2008.

3) While it would take several major pieces falling into place for it to happen, an Emelianenko deal with the UFC might not be as far-fetched as some think. In a February interview with DreamFighters.com , Fedor said "Me and my management hope to get a chance to talk to Dana White in person in June to discuss a possible fight between me and Brock [Lesnar] ." Sure enough, on Sunday -- the last day of May -- Dana White was Twittering about having a "HUGE" meeting in Los Angeles the next day. "Insane for UFC fans if we get this done," he tweeted.

Then, in a video blog posted on YouTube on Tuesday, White mentioned the Kimbo Slice participation on The Ultimate Fighter , and followed up with this:

"Lorenzo [Fertitta] and I had a killer, killer meeting in Los Angeles today, and I was hoping I would be able to tell you about it today, but the way deals go, they take time," White said in the video. "So I can't tell you today, but I can tell you it was a great meeting and I'm feeling very confident that we're gonna get this deal done, and it's gonna literally change the UFC forever."

We know Emelianenko is in the U.S. this week. Could it be?

Wait -- let me rephrase that.

Who else could it possibly be?

Posted on: July 19, 2008 10:30 am

UFC Fight Night 14 weigh-in results

We will have dueling live blogs of both the UFC and Affliction shows starting tonight, with this one covering the UFC event, round by round, starting between 8 and 9 p.m. ET. Todd Martin will cover all the action from ringside of the Affliction event in his own CBS blog, starting closer to 7:15 p.m. ET.

Everybody made weight for UFC Fight Night 14, but it was a close call for James Irvin, who initially weighed in at 207.5. He came back an hour later weighing 206, so the fight is on at the scheduled weight.

James Irvin (206) vs. Anderson Silva (206)
Reese Andy (206 vs. Brandon Vera (204)
Frank Edgar (155) vs. Hermes Franca (155)
Jake O’Brien (236) vs. Cain Velasquez (236)
Kevin Burns (171) vs. Anthony Johnson (170)
C.B. Dollaway (186) vs. Jesse Taylor (184)
Brodie Farber (171) vs. Rory Markham (170)
Johnny Rees (183) vs. Nate Loughran (183)
James Giboo (170) vs. Brad Blackburn (170)
Dale Hartt (156) vs. Shannon Gugerty (156)
Cale Yarbrough (186) vs. Tim Credeur (185)

Join us later today for a complete rundown of the action.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com