Q: Is there a certain number of shows you’re looking to do in 2009?
TA: Right now, we are looking at four events for 2009, but that could change. Right now, I’m just looking at the January show, and the next show would be about four to five months from there.
Q: About thirty-five miles away and on the same night as your show January 24, Golden Boy Promotions – one of your partners - will be having a pretty big card of their own headlined by Antonio Margarito vs. Shane Mosley. What are your thoughts on Golden Boy having a show in the same area on the same night?
TA: We spoke about it. Right now, we don’t see it affecting us too much. The UFC counter-programmed us with the free Anderson Silva fight against our first show, and it didn’t affect us that much. At this point, I don’t see the boxing audience coming over as heavy as some people think. I’d like to change that and hopefully, I will someday.
Q: Isn’t a concern though from a media standpoint to get the word out there for the show? There is only so much local space available. Now, you’ll be competing for space with the boxing show.
TA: Absolutely. We’ll be competing a little bit. It is what it is. Golden Boy is our partner, and we’re making sure that both events are known. It’s a collaboration between the two of us to make it work out for everyone.
It's hell when you have to compete with your enemy (the UFC) and your "partner" (Golden Boy) on the same night. Even if you accept the notion that Zuffa's previous counter-programming effort didn't significantly affect Affliction's show, it's hard to accept that Golden Boy's competing event, just a few miles away no less, is part of Affliction's road map to promotional viability. This looks like a dysfunctional business relationship to me.
Atencio also threw cold water on a potential acquistion of female MMA's most recognizable figure:
Q: How about the other big draw from EliteXC – Gina Carano?
TA: I think Gina is a great fighter. She has proven herself many times. But having said that, if we were to bring her over, I think the only fight out there is her vs. Cris Cyborg. I haven’t really looked into it, but I don’t know who else there is.
Q: Likely what would need to be done is to have the main event and then have another female fight on the show to build a contender.
TA: But the question is – who would that be? I don’t think there is anyone in the same weight class that has enough appeal.
Atencio brings up a good point. However, if it were me, I'd expend more energy worrying about the immediate future than fretting about matchmaking difficulties that may become an issue if the promotion still exists in a couple months. Gina Carano could give Affliction a boost of starpower which is desperately needed. If I were guessing, the deteriorating relationship between Affliction and the Coutures is more of an impediment than a lack of recognizable opponents for Carano.
Honestly, I hate to be so negative in regard to Affliction and Tom Atencio. It's just that Atencio is fighting an almost impossible battle in what would seem to be an inept and impractical manner. There's a lot more in the full interview, including Atencio's desire to promote MMA for years to come and the requisite Tito Ortiz talk. Did you really think we could broach the subject of Affliction without mentioning the "T" word?
Photo via Combat Lifestyle