Fresh off the heels of Wednesday’s news that Affliction had canceled its planned “Day of Reckoning” show on Oct. 11 in Las Vegas, the promotion’s COO, Michael Cohen, has been quoted as saying that the company is expected to make an announcement within the next two weeks that could “change the dynamics of mixed martial arts.”
However, it’s possible that the revelation of the development could come as early as Saturday and it could pertain to a possible deal with Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions. While there is a lack of hard evidence linking Affliction and Golden Boy, there is no shortage of circumstantial evidence.
Affliction Vice President Tom Atencio is quoted by MMA Weekly as contradicting Cohen’s timetable, as he is promising a major announcement this weekend at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. The hotel and casino just happens to be the site of an HBO pay-per-view boxing event featuring Juan Manuel Marquez vs. Joel Casamayor that will be promoted by Golden Boy.
The clothing apparel maker has sponsored several boxers such as Kelly Pavlik in the past so the company’s appearance at a major boxing event alone isn’t enough to sound an alarm. However, there are additional reasons to believe a partnership could have been finalized.
Affliction and Golden Boy have had reported talks in the past and were said to be close to making a pact earlier this year. In fact, it had been rumored that Affliction’s first show was set to take place in June in Las Vegas and would not only be co-promoted with Golden Boy, but also feature HBO as a television partner. Talks had also later surfaced that Golden Boy would be involved with Affliction’s October show, although nothing ever materialized.
Kevin Iole of Yahoo! Sports also quoted Golden Boy CEO Richard Schaefer on Wednesday as saying “we are close with those guys” and that he might have news of a partnership between the two in the future.
There is also reason to believe that HBO could be involved in a potential partnership between Affliction and Golden Boy as well. Cohen confirmed to NBCSports.com’s Michael Chiapetta that Affliction’s second show has been re-scheduled for January (reports indicate that the show will take place on Jan. 17) at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif. and curiously offered Chiapetta a response of “no comment” when asked if the event would air on pay-per-view.
Cohen went on to tell Chiapetta that, “Unlike others who call for a press conference for groundbreaking MMA news, the Affliction announcement will truly change the sport, and not through a toy deal.”
Chiapetta also is reporting that WAMMA heavyweight champion Fedor Emelianenko will be appearing on the second Affliction show, although a quote from Atencio confirming the news no longer appears in the original report. If Fedor has been secured for Jan. 17, it likely means that he will forgo an opportunity to compete on New Year’s Eve in Japan.
Cohen indicated that fighters scheduled for “Day of Reckoning” will all appear on the promotion’s January show but the inclusion of Fedor would likely mean a change in the planned Oct. 11 main event that would have featured former UFC heavyweight champions Andrei Arlovski and Josh Barnett fighting each other for the right to challenge for Emelianenko’s WAMMA heavyweight title in the future. Fedor and Arlovski had originally been planned as the main event for “Day of Reckoning” before Fedor had to pull off the card due to aggravating a hand injury during his first round victory over Tim Sylvia at Affliction’s “Banned” event on July 19.