Replacement Opponent for Fedor Emelianenko at Affliction Trilogy All Gummed Up

20090722115059_barnett_mediumIt's a hurry up and wait situation. Vitor Belfort's camp is saying they're ready to sign. Fedor's camp, not so much. Here's Steve Cofield doing some speculating:

Are Fedor and his camp afraid of fighting the smaller, well-rounded Belfort? On fight night, Fedor will likely walk in with at least an 18 pound weight advantage. It is a highly risky fight for the world's best heavyweight. He's opened off-shore as a -700 favorite over Belfort and sources in Las Vegas say that's about where the line would fall in Sin City if the fight comes off.

If Fedor loses to a blown up light heavyweight, it certainly takes a lot of the luster away from his legacy and his future negotiating abilities. The camp is pushing for Brett Rogers. You can certainly see why they'd want a huge heavyweight who doesn't move well and hasn't been training for a fight.

And meanwhile poor Jorge Santiago is in limbo waiting to find out if he will have any opponent at all, as Michael David Smith opines:

...the chain reaction of events that started with Josh Barnett's failed drug test now could see Belfort being pulled from that fight with Santiago -- a fight that I think is the best on the Affliction Trilogy undercard -- to the main event, against Fedor Emelianenko.

And that's incredibly unfair to Santiago. The fight with Belfort is a huge one for him, one that could, if he wins, establish him as one of the five best middleweights in the world, and the best middleweight outside the UFC. Now he's staring at the possibility of either being pulled from the Trilogy card completely, or matched up at the last minute against an opponent he gains nothing by beating.

Personally I'd rather see Fedor fight a squash match if that means I get to see Vitor Belfort vs Jorge Santiago.

And let me say, for the record, this is all the fault of Josh Barnett. But it should also serve as a reminder to anyone who wants to go head to head with the UFC that promoting fights is hard.

Affliction: Trilogy coverage

Photo via Sherdog.com

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