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Fedor vs. Sylvia: Complete breakdown of Affliction: Banned

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Clothing-maker Affliction formally debuted as a mixed martial arts promotion on Saturday night at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif. The event featured some of the top heavyweight fighters in the world all competing on the same night and under the same roof.

The overall event itself left a lot of questions that still need to be answered. However, it answered one major question, which is that Fedor Emelianenko can still perform in dominant fashion against a top-ten heavyweight.

When we last saw Fedor, he needed 1:54 in the first round to submit kickboxing Goliath Hong Man Choi at Yarrenoka! this past December 31 in Japan. Against Tim Sylvia, a former two-time UFC heavyweight champion, he needed just 0:36 seconds to force him to the floor with his standup and submit him with a modified choke/neck crank.

Fedor’s dominance sent a clear message that he has been mis-managed. The fact that there are people who question his position as the world’s number one heavyweight is evidence of that fact. The reality is that Fedor has fought too infrequently and at times, against inferior competition. Since the end of 2005, Fedor has fought just five times and against the likes of Mark Coleman, Mark Hunt, Matt Lindland, Choi, and now Sylvia.

When he fought Lindland during 2007’s BodogFIGHT Clash of the Nations,” Lindland was moving up two weight classes. Coleman, a former UFC heavyweight champion and at one point in the late-90’s considered the top fighter in the world, had seen his better days when the two met at PRIDE’s Shockwave in 2006. And the decision to match him against Choi this past December in a circus sideshow main event is one that is still disappointing to this day.

Fedor’s quick win over Sylvia raises the question as to why he’s been promoted the way he has the past two years? Clearly he is a fighter that does not need protection. He’s in his physical prime and should be fighting everyone. While his legacy is strong in Japan and Russia, he’s still a relative unknown outside of the sport’s hardcore fanbase in the U.S. With just several more performances on U.S. soil such as last night’s effort, he could dispel every myth that UFC President Dana White has tried to purvey about him to the general public.

The other big story coming out of the event is the fact that the show served as Affliction’s debut as a fight promotion. As far as debuts are concerned, this writer considered last night’s event to be solid. Event organizers deserve a lot of credit for trying to be something other than the UFC and for developing a unique and distinctive brand identity right out of the gate. However, the show was not without its problems, and there were many of them.

Can Affliction become legitimate competition to the UFC? Chalk that up as one of those unanswered questions referenced earlier in this review. But it sure has an enormous amount of potential. Before it can reach that potential though, there are still a lot of kinks that need to be worked out.

My biggest complaint with the show was the pacing. My initial plan was to watch “Banned” in its entirety and completely ignore the live telecast of UFC Fight Night 14 on Spike TV and watch it later on DVR. Those plans were foiled due to the marathon pacing of Affliction’s show. Count me among those who complain that the UFC does not show more fights on its pay-per-view. But after watching “Banned” last night, maybe I should keep my mouth shut?

Is there a point where you can be presented too much MMA? Is it possible to be extremely passionate about the sport yet still get burned out during an epic show? The timing of last night’s show certainly put me to the test. And I found that I couldn’t help but tune over to Spike TV during the slow times to check out what was taking place. I was having flashbacks of WWE Monday Night RAW vs. WCW Monday Nitro from the late ’90’s all over again. My receiver was getting quite the work out.

After watching the one-hour pre-show on Fox Sports Net, I thought we were going to see a catastrophe that rivaled last year’s “Dynamite USA!!” event in Los Angeles. Watching a non-high definition version of “Affliction: Live” on FSN, I saw a telecast with terrible lighting and camera shots that looked like Vaseline had been smeared on the lens. The arena looked empty and was devoid of energy and there were numerous minor production glitches such as screeching mics, sound that faded in and out, mis-timed transitions to and from commercial breaks, etc. At one point, the show tried to emphasize how the card was loaded with top-ten heavyweights. They cut to an on-screen graphic with generic rankings that were titled “onsensus Rankings.” And no, I’m not the one who left “C” out of “Consensus.”

And despite the aforementioned title “Affliction: Lve,” the one-hour telecast opened with a taped bout that was joined in progress between Paul Buentello and Gary Goodridge. It was a sloppy contest that likely did very little to entice someone on the fence to shell out $39.95 for the event. The show’s main event, a middleweight clash between Vitor Belfort and Terry Martin started ungodly slow. But after a talking to from his corner following round 1, Belfort stepped up and finished Martin in impressive fashion. The effort by Belfort evoked memories of the days when Belfort was a former UFC light heavyweight champion. He’s still far from getting back to that level, but Saturday’s showing helped Belfort’s stock immensely. If he can keep his head on straight, he will be a factor in the world rankings at 185 lbs.

After the pre-show festivities, we then went to the live pay-per-view, which looked like a completely different show than the FSN telecast. While dark lighting was utilized, a bigger crowd had arrived so the production was able to shine multi-colored lights on the crowd. This gave the event a much bigger feel. Affliction also deserves high marks for live event production. They used recognizable commercial music for the introductions; there was a huge video screen behind the fighters that looked more like a high resolution television screen instead of a projection screen that most promotions use; and Michael Buffer Was the ring announcer. Video packages between most of the fights were played featuring interviews with the fighters and a limited amount of b-roll footage.

One unique element in regard to the live event production was the utilization of platinum selling heavy metal band Megadeth. Having a live metal band play at the show was not as out of place as I had expected. First, major credit has to go out to the production team for the sound quality. Usually when bands play live in such a situation as last night, the sound is terrible. But there was good sound quality and volume while they played and the songs they performed sounded like the songs you hear on the radio. The utilization of a metal band fit in with the whole Affliction feel, and after all, Affliction does also work with a lot of metal bands. While a metal band on a UFC show would feel out of place, it works on an Affliction show because of the promotion’s roots.

In fact, when the show opened, the first thing we saw was Megadeth, playing their smash hit, “Symphony of Destruction.” I’m no Megadeth fan, but I really do like that song. It sounded great live and the first 60 seconds got me hyped. But after the first minute of just starring at a band on-stage at an MMA show, things didn’t feel right. There was no b-roll or graphics utilized during Megadeth’s performance to help establish that viewers were about to see an epic MMA show.

Towards the end of the song, all of the fighters from the main bouts walked out on-stage and took their place on the ramp opposite their opponent. But there were no graphics to identify the fighters and there wasn’t anyone introducing them to the audience. It looks like they were trying to emulate PRIDE with their opening, but having the screeching woman announce the names of the fighters and present the whole card really gives it a better feel.

It was a unique opening and I applaud Affliction for doing something different. But while the intro could have been really cool, they still fell short in execution. If they do such an opening again, they need to have B-roll of the fighters playing in the background and they either need an announcer or on-screen graphics identifying the fighters when they come out from the back. Give the crowd a cue to cheer.

Immediately after the performance we cut to a pre-taped intro and then immediately into the first fight between Mike Pyle and J.J. Ambrose. It was a quick, high-energy opening and I couldn’t believe how quick they went to the first fight. There was no transition to the talking heads at ringside hyping the fight with backstage shots of the main eventers. We received that traditional opening with the talking heads, but not until after the Pyle vs. Ambrose fight.

With the way the opening was sequenced, I’m positive it was done that way to counter-program the UFC. Most satellite and cable providers give you the opening minutes of a movie or live event for free on pay-per-view to try and hook you to by it. By going right away to a musical performance and then a fight, it was clear Affliction was trying to show more action than the UFN 14 telecast on Spike TV.

While some of the glitches from the pre-show were worked out, there were still a lot of minor production flaws like the crowd not being mic’d properly, low volume on the entrance music, mics fading out along with brief interruptions in transmission. Despite the myriad glitches, it was not to a point where it interfered with one’s enjoyment of the show.

While the glitches were merely slightly annoying, the pacing really did effect my enjoyment. The fighters were introduced to the crowd by Michael Buffer and vignettes were shown prior to each individual entrance. Showing video between each individual entrance really kills the momentum of the show and takes away the energy of the live crowd. The UFC shows you the package on both fighters and then introduces the fighters back-to-back. This is the only way to do it.

Once the fighters were on the rampway, most of them walked super slow to the ring. And then once both fighters were in the ring, Buffer introduced them again, while also thanking 50 companies involved with the promotion of the event. Normally such timing would be tolerable if there were just five bouts. However, we were treated to eight bouts on the show so the extended introductions just became too tedious. In the future, they are going to need to streamline the intros if they want to offer more than five fights and still keep the energy level high.

Megadeth also performed two other times following the intro. I can understand one musical interlude, but the second one right before the main event was almost two much. After the Rothwell vs. Arlovski match, the event slowed to a crawl. It seemed as though the goal was to not start the main event until after Spike’s broadcast had ended.

And while I would normally be interested in bouts between Mark Hominick vs. Savant Young and Matt Lindland vs. Fabio Negao, I had trouble sitting through them because it felt like I had to wait an eternity to see Josh Barnett vs. Pedro Rizzo, Ben Rothwell vs. Andrei Arlovski, and Fedor vs. Sylvia. One can only eat so many appetizers before the main course. Look, I like getting a lot of bang for my buck. Eight fights in three hours is awesome. But eight fights in four-plus hours? Not so much. If the fights between Lindland vs. Negao and Whitehead vs. Babalu had been a little more exciting, then maybe I wouldn’t feel the way I do right now. But both fights were slow, offered several lags in the action, and went to a decision.

However, by the time we got to the final three heavyweight bouts, all was well. Barnett/Rizzo, Rothwell/Arlovski, and Fedor/Sylvia all featured solid action with exciting finishes. If we had only seen those three matches with two fast-paced 155 lbs. or 145 lbs. fights sprinkled in, the card would have been dynamite. Instead, we saw an entertaining show that was good, but one that fell short of the hype in this reviewer’s opinion.

The questions I am left wanting to answer are whether I felt I got my money’s worth and whether I would order another Affliction event again. Yes on both accounts. Last night’s show was far from perfect, but it still had more than its fair share of moments. And I will definitely order again because of the problems I saw last night, I didn’t see any that can’t be worked out through experience.

But there are still questions that Affliction needs to answer. Such as, did they even come close to breaking even last night? What was the official attendance and what was the buyrate? It could be 4-8 weeks before we have any idea about the buyrate, but we should know the attendance figures soon. We’ll also know by Monday or Tuesday what the official salary figures were for the fighters. If the promotion loses $2-4 million, will they remain committed to hosting their own events? And if we do see more events from Affliction, will they continue to offer All-Star fight cards, or will they scale back?

While I enjoy the UFC a great deal, there is still a need for competition. The IFL is all but dead and joins several other major promotions that crash and burned. EliteXC has great fighters such as Jake Shields, Antonio Silva, Robbie Lawler, Rafael Feijao, Wilson Reis, Nick Thompson, etc., but it does not have the money to give us the depth we saw from Affliction last night. The sport needs another big boy to rival the UFC and right now, Affliction is the best candidate to fill that void. In fact, they are the only candidate right now.

With my event thoughts out of the way, here are my brief thoughts on each fight:

1. Mike Pyle submitted J.J. Ambrose at 2:51 of round 1 – Pyle looked like a top contender in this fight while Ambrose looked like a deer in headlights. I’ve been told Ambrose is a prospect, which may be the case, but it looks like he needs more time on the regional circuit before fighting nationally.

This fight was over before it got started. One problem here was how to put the results of these fights into context. We aren’t 100% sure Affliction will be doing a second show. And they are focusing on the heavyweights. So where does a welterweight such as Pyle go next after such a strong performance?

2. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira TKO’d Edwin Dewees at 4:06 of round 1 – Let me tell you something for those who didn’t see the show: ‘Lil Nog looked sensational! He dominated this fight from start to finish. For the life of me I still do not know why the UFC did not sign him. Is it because he’s the twin brother of their interim heavyweight champion and they don’t want to confuse the audience? Is it a money issue? Who knows. But Nogueira is a top ten light heavyweight and I want to see him against other top contenders, not against someone such as Dewees.

Dewees just did not look good here. Much like Ambrose, he showed nothing, with the exception of some leg kicks that color commentator Frank Trigg pointed out are used to keep his opponents away from him as opposed to using it to set up an attack. Dewees doesn’t belong at 205 lbs. He should never fight above middleweight and should really look into dropping to welterweight.

3. Matt Lindland defeated Fabio Negao via unanimous decision – I won’t lie, this was one of the fights where I switched over to UFN 14. But from what I saw, I was correct in stating before the fight that a lot of people were underestimating Negao. This decision was never in question but the fact that Lindland wasn’t able to finish him when so many had predicted it wouldn’t get out of the first round speaks volumes. To be honest though, I really felt Lindland started to show his age in this fight. It was a long time in between fights for him and he’s now 38. Lindland was never a speed merchant, but he did look a tad slow last night. I didn’t see anything to make me think he’s a threat to Anderson Silva.

4. Renato Sobral defeated Mike Whitehead via unanimous decision – These two showed respect for one another’s ground game and they tried to push the pace standing. Whitehead eventually had to revert to his wrestling instincts, but wasn’t really able to do much damage on the ground. While the two stood, it was Sobral who landed the cleaner kicks and punches. Overall, not a very exciting match, as both fighters looked very rusty.

5. Mark Hominick submitted Trenell “Savant” Young via armbar at 4:25 of round 2 – I think I would have enjoyed this fight a lot more if Affliction: Banned was only a five or six fight card and this was the opener. But as it was, it was another fight in which I switched over to see what was going on with UFN 14. I did see bits and pieces. What I saw wasn’t bad, but also nothing special. I consider this outcome as a minor upset as I felt that Young was going to be a mover and shaker at 145 lbs. That still might be the case, but losing to Hominick was a setback.

6. Josh Barnett knocked out Pedro Rizzo at 1:44 of round 2 – I felt this fight started out slow before it picked up. The ending was brutal. Barnett is known for his prowess on the ground, but he’s big and strong and when he hits someone, it hurts. Despite his reputation for being such a strong standup fighter, Rizzo was outclassed on his feet here. Barnett worked hard and then cut a pro wrestling style promo to build to another fight in Affliction. The problem was he didn’t fully commit.

Barnett was talking about wanting to kick asses but was still complementary to the other fighters on the show. If you want to do the pro wrestling-style promo, you’ve got to go all the way and call someone out. As things are now, there isn’t a next logical opponent for Barnett in Affliction. There really aren’t any obvious next opponents for any of the winners. The reality is, I don’t think they did a great job of laying the foundation for their second show. At times, the whole show really felt like a one-off event.

7. Andrei Arlovski knocked out Ben Rothwell at 1:13 of round 3 – We definitely saw the return of the old Arlovski in round three. At one point he landed some big power shots that dazed Rothwell and then Arlovski came in with a jumping knee. And when the end came, he knocked out Rothwell in brutal fashion. I’ll give credit to Rothwell for holding his own for much of the fight, but Arlovski looked focused and well-prepared. Athletically, he was just too much for Rothwell. Nogueira, Belfort, Barnett, and Fedor all looked great, but the fighter that impressed me the most was Arlovski.

8. Fedor Emelianenko submitted Tim Sylvia at 0:36 of round 1 to become the first-ever WAMMA heavyweight champion – Fedor didn’t want to have to fight Sylvia on the outside and wasted little time shooting the gap and closing the distance so that Sylvia couldn’t get extension on his punches. He used the same gameplan vs. Sylvia that Couture did and pressed his body against Sylvia’s right away. Fedor rocked Sylvia with some quick, compact punches and sent the big man to the canvas. From there, Fedor showed no mercy and immediately pounced on Sylvia with strikes to the head before taking his back. Fedor didn’t get a full rear naked choke in, but got fingers on both hands under Sylvia’s chin and just cranked it until Sylvia tapped.

Sylvia got in no offense. He looked like he was in shape for this fight but didn’t seem prepared for Fedor taking the fight to him so quickly. I had mixed emotions about the bout because I wanted to see a war and I wanted to see more than 36 seconds of Fedor. But seeing Fedor dominate an opponent such as Sylvia in the manner he did was a real eye-opening experience and a dramatic way to end an event. It was the biggest F.U. he could have given his critics.

After the fight, Fedor did an interview via translator. He was asked who he wanted to fight next, and he said Couture. The crowd went wild. Even though poorly mic’d, you could still hear them reacting in a big way. A very svelte Couture was in the ring after the fight to congratulate Fedor. Couture also got some mic time. A lot of focus was spent on building up the Fedor vs. Couture fight. In fact, Couture got a ton of face time throughout the entire event (several Xtreme Couture fighters were involved on the card). When Dana White sees the footage, he’s probably going to try and have his lawyers do something. What?I have no idea, but there will be a respond of some kind.

I don’t see the logic of spending so much time building to a Couture vs. Fedor fight right now when you know for sure you can make Fedor vs. Arlovski or possibly Fedor vs. Barnett for your second pay-per-view. It was really a huge risk. Couture’s contract status still is uncertain and with HDNet footing some of his legal bills, Affliction would have to work out a deal before the fight could happen. That’s assuming Couture can get out of his UFC contract.

Perhaps Affliction is privy to information that we aren’t and there’s a strong chance of the fight happening after all. But if they know as much as we do, then focusing on Fedor vs. Couture instead of Fedor vs. Arlovski is a huge mistake. Arlovski looked extremely impressive and received a strong reaction from the crowd. That’s the fight that should headline the second event. If they had had Arlovski come into the ring after Fedor fought, they’d have that footage when it came time to promote the event. Affliction waited too long to market their first event and the time to start marketing their second event was last night.

56 COMMENTS
  • DocWagner says:

    I’m sorry did we watch the same group of fights…are you hung-over? There is a distinct negative tilt to the article from “Fedor is mismanaged…” to “…did they break even”. After such a historic event it is nice to be positive. It’s ok to say they had over 13,000 at a NON UFC event. It is ok to notice the ringside celebrities. It’s ok to discuss the absolute and utter dominance of Fedor over a former UFC champ.

    It gets a bit tiresome to read negativity…the content of the article is good, but the slant is clear and distracting.

  • ufcfan says:

    great write up sam…pretty much captured my thoughts/feelings about the first affliction show.

    the fedor-randy business in the ring gave me that feeling of “we know something you don’t”…

    and sam, how do you think monte cox/adrenaline MMA feels this morning after seeing their first two signings get handled….yikes

  • Fabricio says:

    DocWagner, I don’t know what article you have read. I thought Sam was very complemenatry where many are not going to be. If you think the rest of the MMA world isn’t crying about piss poor production values and stupid band segments, and the crazy amount of time between fights, only to have a fight cancelled off the card due to lack of time………….Sam was very positive.

    While I will agree I think ” Fedor is mismanaged” is a bit naive considering the amount of money he has been pulling in per fight. The overall tone of this article is far from negative.

  • Sam Caplan says:

    #1, what slant would I have towards or against Affliction? The event last night was good, but it was not perfect. I’m not a PR writer, I cover all the angles: the good, the bad, and the ugly. If you are looking for cheer-leading, you’ve come to the wrong place. And why are you choosing to ignore all the positive things I said? I think the slant there is clear and distracting.

  • i love what you wrote bro, but im fuckin lost with your intent a little, but much props from going in the same direction of everyone else talking bout the “great ufc” but then pointing out the flaws of it by showing how great fedor is and how if with proper management we woulda saw a fuckin couture/fedor fight instead of 36 seconds of pain for sylvia’s career and future. but if sylvia lives up to what he expects of himself to fight more often in the year instead of 2 or 3 times, hell become a great fighter, he just has to not fight like a ufc, more talk then brawl.

    i hope affliction 2 is gonna be better, if they dont get sued for using the same type of shorts in a ring, or using someone whos related to bruce buffer. ufc is gonna fuckin sue em either way, its bullshit but desperate.

    p.s. jesse taylor got beat, good job losing you psycho.

  • Sam Cupitt says:

    Did anyone else think Randy Couture looked really drawn out and gaunt when he was on camera. The dude looked like he could make 185.

  • Fabricio says:

    Yep, I did Sam, But it just might have been that 50 by 50 ring he was standing in. I think he also realized last night that he has NO SHOT against Fedor

  • stevefiji says:

    Hey Sam, very nice article… a few comments…

    Megadeath or any other overtly heavy metal band is just not ‘on’ as far as I am concerned. A complete waste of time and i instantly switched over. But that’s an easy correct.

    …and Barnett was completely pathetic and classless at the beginning and the end of his speech but tried to have class in the middle… wtf? hey snoop babyface, for shizzle you gots to cut out the drizzle. I also was not impressed with his win… a nice left but he looks to me like a high level gatekeeper who’s stand-up mannerisms too closely resemble Sylvia’s.

    On the other hand…some super insightful speculations about Randy, especially about Dana perhaps seeing ‘Red’ on the issue of Randy’s involvement, no pun intended, and taking some further action.

    I agree about the too much of a good thing… kinda like a large helping of cheesecake… tastes great but the sugar high is gonna kick your ass 10 mins later!

    I also agree about Fedor’s mismanagement… he’s missed 2+ years of huge earning potential…hell, if he had signed a 3 or 4 fight contract with the UFC back then, he’d already be a free agent again and would have made 10+ mil in endorsements here in the USA instead of just a signature T-shirt. That is surely mismanagement!!!

    And finally, Affliction comes out of this with 3 viable heavyweights plus Randy. That’s just 2 more events unless the cards scale down dramatically and then what? UFC toss-offs playing amongst themselves with even more stains on their records. And look close, there are very few true ‘names’ in the smaller divisions that are really worth grabbing. Dana will create a massive level of counter programming for the next shows (he ain’t going down easy) and so I still see the long-term future as very weak and bleak for this outfit.

  • stevefiji says:

    One more comment on the Fedor mismanagement tissue… Some on these posts have said that talks broke down with the UFC because of Fedor’s desire to continue to fight Sambo… well, so what… what if almost 2+ years ago he did sign a 2 year 4 fight contract… well, Fedor fought no real MMA bouts in this time frame anyway… let’s face it, he fought just barely passable opponents given his skill level… hell, he could have taken 2+ years off from Sambo (and how much Sambo does the guy actually do anyway?) and made himself a US icon, a boatload of endorsements and then when his contract expired, he could have returned and started up his beloved Sambo after a 2+ year sabbatical (the same amount of time he was on his MMA sabbatical as far as I am concerned).

    The guy lost millions and millions and millions that he can never recoup and anybody who denies that is simply not looking at the big picture. If he had pulled an Anderson Silva and run through the UFC HW division, he’d be raking in more stones than Liddell and Randy combined. There’s been nothing like this guy EVER so far, and the world was essentially denied his talents for almost 3 years. THAT”S MISMANAGEMENT 101!!!

  • DocWagner says:

    I noted there was a negative slant…I certainly am not looking for cheer leading, but one must note that for a first event in which 13, 000 sat in attendance, cheer leading even to a small degree is somewhat warranted.
    When one reads the front page articles at MMAJunkie and Sherdog and compare them to this particular article, I think the negative slant can be noticed.
    Please note I am not saying the article is bad or misinformed, simply weighted down by a negative stroke of the pen.
    You are a writer, and a damn good one. This is simply my observation or criticism regarding this particular piece. Much like a “back handed compliment” piece.

  • DocWagner says:

    Lastly, mismanagement in the eyes of American MMA fans…to him, a Russian, I would imagine he is satisfied with his place in Russian popularity. To expect the same values and priorities to be shared with people/ethnicities half a world apart is flawed. To our eyes we see a talent UNDERUSED. Perhaps in his eyes he sees his place in Russian History as monumental. It is hard to argue to the contrary…the man carried the Olympic Torch in Russia.

  • Jackle says:

    Good article! As a fan of MMA since the early 90s I’m glad to see the potential of another major MMA promotion since the tragic death of PRIDE. I really don’t like the direction the UFC is heading in. In a perfect world I would love to see different angles of how mma is presented through different promotions because this is a very dynamic sport. However, as of late all we get is what the UFC wants us to see because they are the industry heavyweight and for mma fans we only get what they want to see us. Last night UFN was no more evident of that, while Vera and A. Silva are some of my favorite fighters, seeing them demolish guys at sub par level at the peak of their careers leaves me with no satisfaction. This is what I fear, when you have only one dominant promotion in the industry they can feed you this kind of garbage for their own self interest and get away with it. Seriously it makes me sick to my stomach to see a bunch of UFC fanbois who knows nothing of the great history of this sport talks so much smack and act like as if the current UFC IS THE HISTORY of this sport. Hopefully in the future well get to see many solid promotions that are willing to cross promote in super mma bowl every year to really determine who is the best fighters in the world, something the UFC promised but clearly never intended to deliver.

  • ryan says:

    i didn’t even read the artical
    but i watched the fights all of othem last night and
    the UFC sure had great production but the fights were awful
    i was so pissed when i was done watching the UFC they gave us shit all shinned up
    i agree that the AFFLICTION show was not on point but its the first show and you have to take that into consideration.
    come on you guys really don’t think that we as fans are getting screwed by the UFC come on with that dog and pony show bullshit.
    i watch all the fights for the fights i understand the rest of the politics but if you are a true fan you have to say that affliction is on the right track and must be getting frustraded with the UFC’s shit

  • Jeremy says:

    Good article.

    I had to complaints: the match-ups were such that every bout had a very clear favorite and, in each case, the favorite won with the outcome never really in doubt.

    The commentary was not good. Glazer said Whitehead weighed 235-240 at fight time. Mike did not gain 35 pounds over night. He might have weighed 225, but Glazer was talking about of his ass.

    Also, the announcing was misleading at times. Just listening to the commentary, you would have thought that Whitehead was winning. They went so far as to say whoever won the third round would win the bout, yet Babalu won every round.

    I am sure Trigg and Glazer were told to fawn over Fedor, but by the time it was over, I almost was disliking Fedor out of principal. Goldie and Rogan did some of the same for Silva, but the Affliction guys went way overboard.

    The production issues were to be expected for the debut show and likely will disappear with the next one.

    I will be curious to see the actual ticket sales. Since Ticketmaster had slashed prices in the last few days, I don’t think the final numbers will be that impressive, unless Affliction bought up a bunch at the last minute.

    Now that we got the mismatched out of the way, hopefully we can get Vitor/Lindland, Lil Nog/Babalu and other more interesting bouts.

    It was a solid show, with the production issues to be expected from a new company.

  • ryan says:

    ALSO i would way rather listen to TRIGG and GLAZER
    rogan is ok but goldberg is just to anoying
    also i would rather turn down the volume and perv on the crowd while megadeth played then sit and watch 45 min of stuff about up coming ufc events all the way untill 2010???

  • Sam Caplan says:

    #10:

    “…cheer leading even to a small degree is somewhat warranted.”

    LOL. We’ll agree to disagree.

    “When one reads the front page articles at MMAJunkie and Sherdog and compare them to this particular article, I think the negative slant can be noticed.”

    So I have to share the same exact opinions at Junkie and Sherdog? I don’t think you understand basic journalism. There is a difference between writing an AP-style event review and an opinion-editorial piece from a viewer perspective. I gave my analysis of the entire event. I called it like I see it. The insinuation that I have to basically cheerlead for Affliction is downright laughable.

    “Please note I am not saying the article is bad or misinformed, simply weighted down by a negative stroke of the pen.”

    If you re-read the article, it was very balanced. It highlighted what I considered to be the negative AND the positive. Sorry I didn’t share the same opinion as you… just accept that people aren’t going to see the same things you did.

    I’m glad you enjoyed the event, so did I. But I decided to cover every aspect of the event and write a full review. Sorry if I offended your sensibilities by including the negatives in my analysis.

    “This is simply my observation or criticism regarding this particular piece. Much like a ‘back handed compliment’ piece.”

    You’re entitled to your opinion, but you’ve got this one wrong. I wrote a balanced piece and have no idea why you feel I should only furnish an article that is nothing but positive?

  • Sam Caplan says:

    In regards to the responses to my mis-management comments, is the best argument that can be made is money? Is money the only thing that is important? What about Fedor’s legacy? Yes, it’s great in Russia and Japan, but prior to last night, it was tarnished in the U.S.

    If Fedor is truly the number one fighter in the world, why wouldn’t he want to be viewed as such by ALL cultures? The U.S. is a major market for MMA and establishing a stronger presence here would make him even more wealthy.

  • stevefiji says:

    @11Doc, nice point but the guy continually talks about wanting to fight ‘The Best”. Now with all due respect, where in the last 2.5 years did he even remotely actually do that until yesterday and even Sylvia would in the most generous ranking, only be # 4 or #5 behind Randy, Nog, Barnett and maybe even sit behind a rejuvenated Mir, AA and even Werdum.

    Nope, Fedor is a fighter and that legacy seems to be more ‘consistently prominent’ in his words than his Russian civic pride. Matt Hughes and Sylvia always have great words for the troops and their love of country, but they are fighters first and as such they all want to always fight “The Best”. Fedor lost millions and fought C-level opponents for 2 and a half years, please don’t whitewash that with an excuse of Russian pride. He was mismanaged and to my assessment, he still is superiorly mismanaged, but that’s a rant for another day.

  • ryan says:

    what do you mean lost millions ????
    Pride payed much more than the ufc is even paying many of there top guys now. and he has beat the ufc champ twice.
    in regard to anderson silva we know who he is but what is the ufc doing have him fight cote next?? come on that is a waste of time cote could even handle almedas stand up and he has non!!!!
    If you watch fedor last night you can tell what he can do.. what do u think would happen to coture???????

  • JollyDV says:

    Nice article Sam. I too flipped from Affliction to UFN during the down time and during the Megadeath sessions. The Affliction production reminded me of an old 1970’s boxing match on tv. Kind of retro. Dark lightening, the crowd was muted. I had to remind myself that this was the first show and comparing it to the first EliteXC on CBS, I say bravo to Affliction!

    Only a few complaints to add to the ones you mentioned. What a waste of time calling out the names of famous people in the crowd. Tacky, tacky.

    I thought the announcers were awful. Thankfully I was calling the play by play in the chat room and was able to drown them out. Yes I do like Joe/Goldie, but I also like Frank Mir on WEC. I just think they Trigg/Jay didn’t mesh and neither guy has any bass in his voice. I did like seeing/hearing Big John.

    A few tweaks here and there and the next Affliction show will improve. Overall when I look back at last night, it wasn’t bad at all. I spent $40 on PPV and was able to watch that and 90% of UFN all during the same 4 hours. So I look at it as a 2 for 1 deal. Thanks UFC, otherwise, I may have felt cheated due to the lag between bouts.

  • OCD says:

    Two points:
    1) If you didn’t watch the full Hominick fight, you probably shouldn’t comment on it. It was exciting.
    2) Why would Barnett call anyone out “prowrestling style”? There were no winners yet. So, he should call out Rothwell or Sylvia and look stupid after the fact? Please Sam.

  • Matt says:

    Hey dont knock Hong Man Choi, he lasted longer than Sylvia.

  • Fabricio says:

    “In regards to the responses to my mis-management comments, is the best argument that can be made is money?”

    Ummm. Yeah that is kinda the point, people like to talk about “what if”. If Fedor had signed with Zuffa after the Pride demise, he wouldn’t make near the money. Now he is making his money, and has an outlet to 7 out of the top 10 HW’s, All the while making more in one night than the entire UFN fight card………..combined.

    Let us not fool ourselves into thinking his legacy in the US means anything to him, while it might be nice I’m sure he sleeps well as a hero to his country, and beloved by those in the know.

  • dongbar says:

    Randy is still the bigger draw even after Arlovski’s awesome performance and the lay off.Do you think UFC will counterprogram Affliction 2 and 3?

  • JOe K. says:

    I thought it was a success. The fights were great less the Buentello/Goodrich fight.

    The dead air between fights bothered me. I don’t know if music was supposed to be playing and it wasn’t playing loud enough but all of the sudden there was just dead air.

    I could have gone without megadeth. What they should have done is played some hype videos before everyfight.

    Not like the normal tape videos where the fighters talk about how they are not going to lose and the other guy is going to lose because they are hungry and this is their time and they dominate all aspects of the game because they are a complete fighter and that what that other guy said is wrong and how they are on a comeback because we are going to see a new them and they want that title because that is what they have been training to get…

    The commercial for the Affliction event was intense. Arlovski punching through fire, Whitehead shattering glass, Barrnet doing that throat, (Fedor smiling coyly jk). They should have made a bunch of intros like that for each fighter or each fight.

    Beyond the dead air and mic glitches. I though for a first event it was great. I would buy again for sure. I think they enticed some new fans and some new fighters for sure.

  • Jeremy says:

    OCD: The promo Barnett cut was vintage pro-wrestling. Barnett is quite honest about the fact that he is a wrestling fan and makes a point of styling his promos after pro-wrestling.

    #18 Pride did not pay as much as you seem to think. Fedor, for his U.S. bout, ended up making around what Franklin made for his Loiseau bout…a reported 400k.

    The top guys in the UFC make over a million per fight after bonuses and ppv cuts. I don’t think Chuck has made less than a million since the second Couture bout.

    #22, the UFC offer was the biggest one, even his manager said so. The diff was that they wanted other things that the UFC would not budge on.

  • Zack with a ck says:

    For what its worth, I thought Sam was too kind to the event. The production was very sloppy (sudden cuts to Glazer getting his makeup touched up), the pacing was awful, and most of the fights were boring. Outside of Andrei’s performance and Fedor’s total destruction, I saw little else to get excited about – except maybe little Nog. Josh beating Rizzo is totally irrelevant, as is anything involving Sobral. This is 2008, not 2001.

  • BadMonkeyMW says:

    Yep, the production was a little sketchy at times, and what the hell was Don Johnson doing in the ring with Fedor after the fight?? Calling out the celebrities in the crowd was way stupid, although seeing Donald Trump sitting next to Jenna Jameson was great: Two people who’ve made their living fucking other people!

    Having said that, Arlovski looked fucking awesome!! That flying knee he delivered in the corner was incredible for a 240 lb man. He definitely deserves the next shot at Fedor. Barnett’s post fight interview was great, it’s good to have somebody with some personality in the ring that can cut a good promo.

    Oh yeah: Fedor. What else can you say? He did in 36 seconds what Randy couldn’t do in 5 rounds! And Randy is a 100% badass. Definitely had to send a little shiver up Randy’s spine.

  • Zack with a ck says:

    PS – UFN was pretty “meh” as well. The night was way overhyped but saved somewhat by watching two of the best fighters ever pretty much put any doubters to rest.

  • NoChallenge says:

    I thought the article missed some key production issues… The ring, specifically the tension on the ropes, was terrible. Not sure what the hell they were thinking but the more the night dragged on the more certain I was that we were going to see people flying out of the ring.

    Also, there were way too many times that were was absolutely nothing being said inbetween matches. Really bad stuff.

    The announcing crew needs to be replaced entirely.

  • mike wolfe says:

    Watching the show last night was like watching a favorite band from your college years. Part of the attraction is the memories from the good old days. It was a genuine pleasure to see Barnett, Little Nog, Fedor, Rizzo again.

    The question in my mind is when or if Affliction can stage another event. The aforementioned stalwarts can only fight so many times and in only a few combinations. One of the impressions left by the show is that Affliction signed some big names, but there wasn’t a lot of depth. The “newer’ fighters simply weren’t of the same caliber as the headliners. That’s where the investment of money will be required, and it won’t be cheap. UFC and WEC have acqured a lot of the up and coming new talent, and it has spent a lot to promote its brand. Affliction did a poor job of advertising. If it wasn’t for this site and similar internet sites, I wouldn’t have heard about it. That’s not how to build a brand.

    Finally, Megadeth just didn’t work for me. They’re damn near a nostalgia act at this point. They haven’t been cutting edge since the ’80’s. I guess they were alright since the whole card had a good nostalgia vibe, but play the nostalgia card too many times and your event feels outdated.

    Finally, (no really, this time I mean it) the only Affliction heavyweight with a chance against Fedor is Barnett. I’m not picking him to win, but he has power and a legit ground game. Arlovski is still a question mark due to his unimpressive final fights in UFC. I don’t think he’s mentally ready for the challenge at this point.

    In summary, it was a great card, the production was iffy, and it’s an open question whether Affliction can do this a second time without losing its shirt(s)

  • G-DUB says:

    Can someone tell me if the Affliction show was available in HD?
    I (like many) expected to watch the Affliction show live and DVR the UFC …. but except for the quality of the last 3 fights, I was sorely disappointed with so much of the Affliction show.
    1) Couldn’t find Affliction on HDPPV so had to watch a grainy version of it on tha regular.
    2) The lighting in the arena and in the ring was way too dark …. made me want to fall asleep. They needed some lights directly above the ring (like they do for the boxing events)
    3) Megadeth? Are you kidding me? Could they at least get a band that has been the least bit relevant in the past 20 years?
    4) Expected more of Glazer and Trigg. Their energy was way too low for most of the show (surprisingly, though Big John was great).
    5) Let’s face it …. Bruce kicked Michael’s ass. Interesting to see them go head-to-head last night. M. Buffer should just stick to boxing and his other schtick …. he just didn’t cut it as an MMA ring announcer.

    You really get to appreciate the show the UFC puts on after watching what Affliction had to offer. That being said, the fights didn’t disappoint and I’ll definitely give them another shot to make the right adjustments in the next show.

  • HexRei says:

    I wish people would stop saying OMG RANDY IS SHAKING IN HIS BOOTS. When has Randy ever been afraid of anybody, even people he’s already lost to? If anything Randy is just driven to work harder when he is an underdog. Just keep talking, the more you talk, the better his chance of upsetting your predictions.

  • Sam Caplan says:

    “Ummm. Yeah that is kinda the point, people like to talk about “what if”. If Fedor had signed with Zuffa after the Pride demise, he wouldn’t make near the money.”

    And you know this for sure?

  • Jeremy says:

    It is being reported everywhere that it was a sold-out crowd of a little under 14,000.

    I am really having a hard time believing that since Ticketmaster was selling discounted tickets in almost every bracket days before the event.

    I can’t wait to see the actual numbers.

  • MMA SKOOL™ says:

    DANG! Sylvia got cracked with that left hook. I kind of like Tim Sylvia, but he crumpled like a baby. I didn’t think he would win, but I’m disappointed he didn’t put up a better fight. That flurry definitely surprised him.

    Affliction Banned was just decent.

    With all the money they poured into it, they could’ve at least hired a competent production crew. The audio had a lot of problems but I was also very annoyed by the exposure settings on the cameras. It was too dark. Very cheap looking.

    Switching over to the UFC broadcast was like taking off your sunglasses. And as much as I get annoyed by Goldie and Rogan sometimes, they bring alot of energy and enthusiasm compared to the announcers these other promotions have been tossing together. Heck, bring back Bas Ruten and Steven Quadros.

    The Pit Bull looked awesome, but I really don’t want to see him fight Fedor. I think Barnett would make a better fight. Arlovski still looks lost on the ground.

    It also seemed like Arlovski and Rothwell were the first guys on that card to really be fighting. Everyone else was shaking hands and waiting for the end of rounds, but there was some real tension during that Arlovski Rothwell fight. That was a real fight.

    Frank Trigg is a big baby too. Just because St. Pierre owned him, he’s gotta sit there and tell the world how much better he thinks Fedor is compared to Silva and GSP pound-for-pound.

  • ryan says:

    there is just as much down time in a ufc event
    one they only broadcast five fights on average in the ufc and fill the rest with self promotion or sponsors then go back and play prelim bouts
    affliction stayed on real time the whole show so your gunna have slow downs
    havn’t any of you watched fights from japan over the years this is what happens but you end up getting more fights
    see i think if you order a card you should get all the fights prelims and all

    and if SAM didn’t complitly watch all fights on both events then write his article that is weak this is your website thats your job dvr them and watch the ones you missed flippin back to that awful ufc night

    all i want is the best fighters to fight and the ufc is not trying to make that happen

  • Jeremy says:

    I enjoyed the fights last night from Affliction for the most part, no complaints there from me at all.

    The production though definitely needs some work, which is not surprising at all. For whatever reason the audio for the broadcast(at least here in Time Warner land) was very, very low. I had to crank the tv audio to hear the announcers and the crowd was hardily even audible. Megadeath to open the show was fine, the rest of the time terrible, but it gave me a chance to watch the UFN at the same time. Please no more bands unless its just for the opening. As Sam said, and I agree, the time it took to get each fighter to the ring and then to fight was way to long, and again gave me plenty of time to switch to Spike.

    And that rind was HUGE as well, which didn’t bother me for the fights but it seemed like our camera shots were far away.

  • Chris says:

    For Affliction’s first time MMA event, I felt the show was pretty good. Was the show long? Yes, it was, but with this being the 1st show and with the amount of celebrities that showed up and with the amount of future potential sponsors present, there was no way possible that the event was going to go at a faster pace.

    Prior to the Fedor/Sylvia fight, I thought of the Couture/Sylvia flight where Randy made his return to the UFC and beat Sylvia just by simple speed and keeping him on the ground and knew that if Fedor did the same, Sylvia would lose again…and what happened, Fedor exploded with speed, put Sylvia on the ground and kept him there and won.

    And in regards to the future of Affliction fighting, Affliction necessarily won’t need fight cards full of big names to survive, it could simply go the same route as Pride Fighting or if Dana White keeps having issues with some of the fighters that he is having probs with, Affliction will have no problem in putting together exciting future events

  • ACK! says:

    I thought the Affliction show was excellent. Even the fights that Sam didn’t like, were pretty solid in my opinion. Lindland vs. Negao was slow at times, but Negao took a beating and kept battling. Seeing Babalu back in form was great. And the Hominick vs. Young fight was really good I thought. An impressive win for Hominick as he simply outclassed Young.

    I know there were some production issues, but nothing that detracted from the show. Also, I thought the announcing team was solid-a great change of pace from Rogan and his yes-man.

    Overall it was a great show and easily among the year’s best.

  • ryan says:

    goldi cleans rogans buttcrack with his tounge right after he is done swallowing dana whites load
    and rogan sits there reapeating himself over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over
    and it really makes me not like him and i want to like him he is funny and a heavy supporter of the smoking community!!!!

  • roscoe says:

    re #36:
    “Frank Trigg is a big baby too. Just because St. Pierre owned him, he’s gotta sit there and tell the world how much better he thinks Fedor is compared to Silva and GSP pound-for-pound.”

    I thought this was actually fairly selfless and intelligent. If I had been beaten by someone I would like to think that person was the best in the world, not that there is someone else out there even better.

  • doubleA-ron says:

    I agree in most part w/ this article. One thing that puzzles me is commenting on fights that u switched over to UFN and didn’t get to watch.

    focusing on Fedor vs. Couture instead of Fedor vs. Arlovski is a huge mistake. This comment i totally agree with. Fedor vs Couture would be worthless and unneeded. It would be a step back for fedor.

    I haven’t heard too many comments abot the announcers- I thought they did a terrible job. trigg rambles on too much, glazer makes stupid jokes and uses the same lines, and Big John did well when he got a chance to get his word in

  • Rich S. says:

    #41,
    you can’t be serious..

    dude, if you hugged Sylvia’s nuts any harder, he’d have to “nurse” those before his next fight, and you’d have another excuse..

    that’s the most ridiculous thing i’ve ever heard..

    Fedor BEASTED someone you like.. so you say that??

    wow..

    if they fought again i bet Fedor would beat Sylvia faster.. either that, or it’d go on a little longer, but it’d end in brutal KO..

  • MMA SKOOL™ says:

    What’s wrong with “commenting on fights that u switch over to UFN and don’t get to watch”?

    I also switched over to UFN during those same fights because they were boring as hell.

  • doubleA-ron says:

    If u didn’t watch it how can u comment or know everything that happened is all i am saying. no big deal

  • Rich S. says:

    just saw the Arlovski fight…

    HOLY CRAP.

    NOW THAT’S… THE PITBULL…

  • Ian says:

    It was a thing of beauty, was it not.

  • Skwirrl says:

    For all the haters (including u in this case Sam) Wah wah wah…

    Megadeth was alright but I think they should have stuck in a fight before they played. Aside from that and the fact that Alex wasn’t able to compete it was pretty well done.

    And the lineup for headliners for Affliction 2 is SIMPLE. Fedor vs Couture Arlovski vs Barnett Sylvia vs Rothwell (if Monte Cox allows it) If not they can find another fighter for each. But the clear cut first two are Fedor/Couture and Barnett/Arlovski with the winners facing each other. (which means Fedor vs winner of Barnett Arlovski)

  • Sam Caplan says:

    Sylvia and Rothwell fought once before Rothwell moved to Iowa and joined MFS. They will never fight. MFS fighters training out of Champions gym in Bettendorf do not fight each other.

  • romano says:

    sam…there will never be justification for your site having ranked couture above fedor…never…you’re a smart mark wrestling fan noob

  • Nate says:

    War Fedor.. the last emperor is raining down the destruction. I cant wait to see who he fights next.

    It was great to see the good older fighters, though I was hoping for better fights. Arlovski looked great.

    I did go to UFC to watch Anderson Silva’s domination over Irwin, but that was the only one I was itching to see.

  • lamp says:

    for there first show I thought it was good…..first things first, FIRE the commentators I don’t know how anyone else felt but it sure made me miss Rogan and Goldberg. Not only did the mispronounce names, the didn’t even know who Fedor fought last. Anyone catch when they said “competed in the US olympics”,come on. This is not a place for Frank Trigg to trash talk the competitors this is the time to upsell affliction not yourself.As far as megadeath is concerned I thought it was a welcomed change I would rather see or hear that than be forced to rewatch the same crap ufc has been shoving down your throat all week not to mention all their sponser commercials and previews. All in all it can only get better….. well we hope.

  • Tomholo says:

    I have to agree with the doc here. I agree with probably most everything said in the article. Good piece actually. Did notice a slant though. Back handed compliment seemed like a correct analysis. Almost as if you were saying, ‘it was great, but it’s no UFC’. Production wise, it wasn’t UFC. They’ll get better. I think your writing and synopsis of the event was right on. Like you said, the production problems are nothing that couldn’t be fixed with experience. Enjoyed. Thanks.

    Oh, and I will DEFINATELY either buy or go somewhere that has the NEXT AFFLICTION EVENT! They have some SERIOUS potential!!!

  • Jackyl says:

    Tim Sylvia post fight interview:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J13JFn3HktY

  • Tomholo says:

    Watched the post fight interview with Silvia. He was very humble. I guess he had to be, he got hit by a tank. Did you see that left straight from Fedor!?!? I believe that was the punch that Silvia referenced as ‘being hit harder than he has ever been hit before’. MY head hurt when I saw that punch!

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