Earlier this week, Sam Caplan of fiveouncesofpain.com reported that when Fedor Emelianenko and Tim Sylvia meet on July 19 in Anaheim, they would be fighting for a heavyweight title.
Today, Tom Atencio, the VP of Affliction Entertainment, tells MMARated.com that the title at stake will be the newly-formed WAMMA heavyweight crown.
WAMMA, which stands for World Alliance of Mixed Martial Arts, was established in November 2007. According to its website, "WAMMA is a multifaceted, fan and fighter-forward organization dedicated to promoting the integrity, legitimacy and longevity of Mixed Martial Arts."
Furthermore, some of its goals include, "certification and Recognition of Championship and Elimination Bouts" as well as "to promote and obtain efficiency and harmony in the control and supervision of professional men's and women's Mixed Martial Arts throughout the world."
I suppose there's no harm in it, but there's also little point to it as well. For starters, if Sylvia wins and ever expects to return to the UFC, he'll very likely be forced to vacate the title immediately since there's no chance that he'll be able to defend it even if his UFC opponent is the WAMMA number one contender. Second, that stripping will render the title a defacto "organizational" belt. In other words, the belt wouldn't really serve as a meta-belt among all belts, just another one among many correlated to an organization (or small group). Third, while the number of organizations and belts per organization does get a little out of hand, the bigger players need their own belts for prestige and legitimacy. When an organization on the come up only fights for the belt of a sanctioning body with very little presence or significance, that screams second rate. Lastly, Affliction, brand new as a MMA organization, is now also asking fans to take the further step of recognizing the legitimacy of a sanctioning body that has no other fingerprint in the sport. And given the enormous amount of new fans strictly adhering to the UFC playbook, this is likely going to cause them to ask, "If the WAMMA title is so great, why is no one in the UFC fighting for it?"
Good question, indeed.