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07-25-09, 07:26 PM #1
Affliction folds MMA promotion, will sponsor UFC
After promoting two critically acclaimed but financially disastrous mixed martial arts cards, Affliction on Friday first canceled its pay-per-view card scheduled for Aug. 1 and then opted to get out of the promotional business, Yahoo! Sports has learned.
The company and the Ultimate Fighting Championship are expected to release a statement sometime on Friday in which it is announced that Affliction will cease operations as a promoter and that its clothing division will become a UFC sponsor.
Affliction had a card slated for Aug. 1 with a main event of Fedor Emelianenko against former UFC champion Josh Barnett at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif.
But Barnett tested positive for an anabolic steroid and on Tuesday was denied a license to fight by the California State Athletic Commission.
That left Affliction scrambling to fight a replacement for Emelianenko. With no viable alternatives – the best was former UFC light heavyweight champion Vitor Belfort, who was already down to 195 pounds for a scheduled middleweight fight – Affliction early Friday opted to scrap the show.
Later in the day, Affliction came to terms on a deal in which it would quit promoting fight cards. However, the status of the fighter contracts belonging to Affliction is unknown.
They could revert to the UFC or they could become free agents, able to sign with the promoter of their choice.
Multiple sources had indicated to Yahoo! Sports that Affliction was on the verge of a deal with Strikeforce for some sort of merger, but that fell apart in the last 24-48 hours. That’s when talks began anew between White and Affliction. They had spoken earlier in July about such a scenario, but were unable to come to a deal.
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