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Golden Boy no guarantee to be a savior to Affliction

By now everyone knows the rumor of a partnership between Affliction and Golden Boy Promotions is true following Saturday’s official announcement by Tom Atencio at the MGM in Las Vegas.

Affliciton COO Michael Cohen teased the development as “one announcement is truly going to change the world of mixed martial arts.” He’s also the same guy who publicly contradicted the promotion’s Vice President, Atencio, who promised a major announcement on Saturday while Cohen insisted it could take a couple of weeks. Which means either the left hand at Affliction doesn’t know what the right hand is doing or there is a second major announcement on the way.

Cohen also indicated that once the announcement was made, we’d all understand why the promotion’s Oct. 11 “Day of Reckoning” card had been postponed. Partnering with Golden Boy is certainly great news for the company but I am failing to understand why it necessitated the postponement of a major show just 30 days out.

I am also failing to immediately understand how the announcement qualifies one that will change the world of MMA. That’s why I am hoping that there is a second announcement still forthcoming. On paper, landing a deal with Golden Boy offers a lot of sex appeal. But beauty is only skin deep. How does this immediately change the financial fortunes of Affliction?

We’ve yet to hear Atencio and Cohen go into details about what the partnership with Golden Boy truly means, but on the surface, I don’t see anything Earth-shattering. Affliction still has a flawed business plan in that it doesn’t have revenue streams big enough to justify the cost of some of the guarantees they’ve promised certain fighters. It also doesn’t have the right distribution platform to build fighters such as Fedor Emelianenko and Josh Barnett into bigger stars with American MMA fans.

Affliction has said it is willing to lose a lot of money during the initial going because it gains residual value by being able to promote its clothing line. However, doesn’t it make more sense to lose millions promoting your brand to a couple of million people as opposed to losing the same amount of money in front of only a couple of hundred thousand? If HBO came gift-wrapped with Golden Boy then I would agree with Cohen that this is indeed an announcement that will change the sport. But HBO has already come out and said that there is not only no deal with Affliction but that one doesn’t even appear to be on the horizon.

Affliction needs a television partner and it needs one now. If not HBO then perhaps ESPN. Showing replays and pre-show undercard fights on HDNet isn’t a big enough platform to expose their brand in hopes of being able to monetize its viewership through buying t-shirts or seasonal pay-per-view events.

The one major change that has been reported is that January’s show at the Honda Center in Anaheim is expected to feature both boxing and MMA on the same card. Again, I fail to understand how this is a good thing for Affliction. Sure, Golden Boy will now share in some of the production costs but if I am not mistaken, the costs of doing a show could increase now that you need infrastructure in place to support two separate sports on the same show.

If done right, perhaps Affliction and Golden Boy have hit on a revolutionary new way to cut costs by doing two shows on the same night. Maybe Affliction starts off the night with a six-fight MMA show that airs on PPV and then Golden Boy does a four-fight boxing show that airs on HBO or SHOWTIME? If they can split production costs while finding separate television partners for each show, then I can see how they’ll be able to make some money.

But if the plan is to televise both boxing and MMA on the same PPV, then I think things could backfire. I don’t have the scientific research but in my travels I have found that the crossover between boxing fans and MMA is grossly overrated. The real crossover is between pro wrestling and MMA — which is an article all into itself. A hardcore fan will watch anything but regardless of whether Affliction’s July event did 75,000 buys or a 100,000, we know that they failed to penetrate the casual audience that the UFC currently has a monopoly on.

It’s the casual fan that needs to be won over. But if Affliction and Golden Boy present a scenario in which a casual MMA fan believes they have to pay for boxing in order to see MMA, there is the potential that the customer will resent the concept and refuse to pay for something they have little interest in. And in defense of boxing, its fanbase could feel the same way. Let’s not kid ourselves, does a hardcore boxing fan truly give a damn about Fedor?

I just don’t believe splitting the ticket is the way to go. Even if you sell it as a “two-for-one” concept and sell it for only $39.95, there are still going to be some consumers that will feel they shouldn’t be expected to pay full price when they are only interested in one of the two combat sports. The only real way to make this concept work is by putting together a card with one mega-boxing main event along with a mega-MMA main event and a bunch of inexpensive undercard bouts. If you promote a cant-miss fight, the fans will pay regardless. However, if it’s just an overall strong card without a huge draw at the top for each sport, I fear that consumers might spend their dollars on a boxing-only event or an MMA-only event instead.

Maybe it’s unfair for me to question the merits of this deal before Affliction and Golden Boy have had a chance to fully outline the benefits. That being said, I still think it’s a little unfair to present this as an announcement that could change the sport of MMA. The reality is that the jury is still out on Affliction and there are no guarantees that Golden Boy will prove to be the company’s savior. Only time will tell and I am not sure how much of it Affliction has left.

  • Jeremy says:

    This deal seems very weird if not bad for the fighters that Affliction has signed, doesn’t it? I mean instead of having the October card, they postponed it to January. Now that January card is going to be partially a boxing card as well?

    I can’t imagine them having the 10-11 proposed fights on that card like the original October card did. Seems like some of their fighters are out of work for an awfully long time. Hopefully they can all fight somewhere else during this time without issue.

  • MMAuthority says:

    The problem that arises with your theory though is:

    Who is indeed the “draw” on the split card ?? How do we target specific and pin point the actual draw between the Boxing/MMA consumers ?? Both sides would be at a stalemate debate of trying to discredit the other in terms of who’s is the “real draw” on the card..

    Where is Trump in all this ?? Does he not “own” an undisclosed portion of shares in Affliction ? Where was his money and pull in all this ? Why would Affliction need to bring another backer in house only to relinquish futher shares of “their” product for the sake of staying a float ??

    Affliction cant sell what it doesnt own. And I think we’re seeing yet another failed market plan in the making from some greedy investors looking to cash in on a quick buck. MMA in itself is a totally different model than any other sport. It uses bits and peices of other major successful franchises and puts them to use in it’s model. It’s promotoin, pay structure, & commodity as a whole is completely different. The UFC has managed to find the formula first, so anyone trying to follow it comes off as a second rate rip off and anyone else trying to go against the grain, comes off as a short term failure, all the while loosing bucket loads of money in the process.

    I think people need to find 1 promotion and get behind it as a whole to really validate the sport of MMA. If people dont like UFC management, then so be it, but their actions speak louder than words to the educated…

    Poor business for Affliction yet again.. The rise and fall of yet “another failed MMA promotion” end of 2009…

  • Matt says:

    Could the postponement have something to do with the date set for De La Hoya/Pacquaio on Dec. 6? If they throw a Fedor-Barnett/Arlovski fight under that I could see it going a long way to helping their business.

  • Sam Caplan says:

    Where was Trump? Well, my theory is that he is more of a figurehead. There is Trump Steaks, Trump Water, and Trump Vodka… three companies he does not own outright. Those three companies pay him a licensing fee to use his name and his brand. Perhaps he was given some equity in some or all of the three as compensation, but I doubt he invested any serious money into the company. And it wouldn’t surprise me if it was a similar relationship with Affliction. He’s there to get them press.

  • Daniel says:

    They postponed the October fights, so Fedor can finally fight Couture!!!

  • MMAuthority says:


    Well said and thats what I have been saying on numerous boards in discussion on this matter.

    I was merely using it as a basis of a point and less of a direct question.

    Trump does not own Trump Org/Ent. outright either. He is a sitting board member and (assumably) a majority shareholder, but not the sole proprietorship of anything “Trump”. Thats why I laugh when people assume he is indeed a billionare, because the “Trump” name is listed on Forbes as a net worth of 3 billion. But further research leads us to actual facts that Donald Trump is worth at most 250 million by his self. The companies holdings and assets give him a false listing, where as you stated, he isnt even the majority shareholder in some (if not) all his company listings.

    My main point is that Affliction was really left out to dry on this one and is the case once again. Trump & GBP are both bigger than MMA itself. To them this is a low risk investment with an open option out at any point. Affliciton is blindly giving up numerous stock holdings or shares of “their” product for the sake of having a “partner” or popular affiliate attached. It’s like being super hungry and giving up 2/3 of your dinner for the sake of letting a hot chick sit at your table.. She’s going to eat and run and all you get out of it is a photo opportunity with a hot chick at your dinner table…

    Co-mingling is not growth for either sport. MMA & boxing are 2 entirely seperate entities. 2 totally different genre’s of sport. They need to remain seperate and distinct for their individuality and their respective fans.. If this was indeed the “Ground Breaking News” I feel sorry for them after PPV # 1… The proof is in the pudding and the fans are speaking loud and clear..

    Another quick point is that boxing fans are under the impression that MMA is dieing on the vine. This is simply not the case. They are under the assumption that MMA needs boxing to save it from grace. Affliction is sending a lot of mixed messages to both fanbases with this announcement. MMA is by far a rapidly progressive sport. UFC has just simply alienated themselves from the pack… The boxing community hasnt been able to make the distinct comparison between the UFC and MMA as a whole. To them it’s all MMA and if they see a company looking for a handout to keep from falling flat, then they associate that to UFC/MMA. Which as you and I know is far from the case in reality…

  • Eric says:

    I remember hearing Affliction say this would affect UFC. How the heck does this affect them? This is a minor blip on the UFC’s radar. They have fights to promote & shouldn’t be worried about a struggling mms company.

  • Eric says:

    should have said “mma”

  • Batman says:

    I wonder if its a possibility to get Oscar De La Hoya on this card or if it’s to late to change his fight date. But you could still get Bernard hopkins or shane Mosley on the card. I am a boxing fan and I would love to see Ricky Hatton or Joe calzaghe but I am sure that wont happen. For the MMA portion you could have
    Fedor vs Arlovski
    Tito vs Sobral
    Josh Barnett vs Roy Nelson
    Vitor Belfort vs Matt Linland
    Vladimir Matyushenko vs. Antonio Rogerio Nogueira
    Tim Sylvia vs Ben Rothwell
    here is some advice sign Mirko Cro Cop
    Promote this card heavily and use the fighters I mentioned and this will be a success I gaurentee you that.

  • MMAuthority says:


    How could you infact “guarantee” success with those fighters ??

    There essentially the same list of fighters they had for their 1st show, just recycled in a different order and it didnt live up to expectations, for obvious reasons.

    Affliction will not be a viable promotion come the end of 2009. Regardless of who they have in their corner. They are in a financial pickle and it’s no big secret.. They over paid fighters on their first show and now they’re going to find the difficulty in business when you overpay the marketshare value and expect the employees to take a pay decrease for essentially the same job with less promotional backing…

  • I agree they should not say this will change MMA unless they have something else to announce. As a longtime fan of both sports I will reserve judgement until I see the model for what they are trying to do.

    The splitting of costs and using the same venue while showing the cards separately is a good idea in my eyes. I don’t like the mashup idea of showing both on the same card, unless we are talking a co main event with fedor and de la hoya or something of the sort.

  • Evan says:

    I am a mma fan…I could not care less about boxing so I am not interested.

  • Cannon J says:

    The thing that makes the most sense to me about this deal is the clothing line(s) factor. This was part of an ESPN article yesterday:

    “As part of its deal with Golden Boy, Affliction will produce a line of event T-shirts for Golden Boy fights to sell at retail locations and at the fight. The first fight it will make shirts for is the Dec. 6 match between Golden Boy boss Oscar De La Hoya and Manny Pacquiao. In addition, Affliction will become the official apparel licensee for Ring Magazine, which Golden Boy bought last year. It unveiled several sample T-shirts featuring old covers of Ring magazine, including ones of Sugar Ray Robinson.”

    I really don’t know the extent to which they can parlay this deal into revenue from clothing, but the potential is definitely there. Clothing is really what Affliction does well. This way they’ll have access to boxing fans through an established promotion. Of course, this gives Golden Boy an avenue into another source of revenue. I can’t see how this merging of boxing and MMA can work on this scale, but the two companies could certainly make some money through sales of T-shirts, etc. Despite what Affliction says, they need to build a bigger revenue stream out of this promotional venture.

  • nikoMMA says:

    I think all this is just to sell more T-shirts , they aren’t saying anything about fighters or fights , they want to sell T-shirts .Affliction dosn’t care about MMA or Boxing , THEY ONLY WANT TO SELL T-SHIRTS , and i think it is a great move to do it.

  • Loco541 says:

    this is seriously some bad news in my opinion. Nothing against boxing or affliction, They better hope they have better news than this(And mixing boxing and mma, big no no). I am a hardcore fan of mma and mma only. No way am i going to pay for a ppv when their is going to be boxing matches in it. I want to see mma bouts and get as much as possible, now i have to settle with boxing matches? I’m sorry but this totally ruined it for me and i for sure won’t be renting them now. And Sam, you do good on these articles for Affliction, you should consider trying to go work for them and getting this whole thing figured out before they blow it.

  • Andrej says:

    I was going to buy Affliction 2 in October and Invite a couple of my friend’s to come and watch the PPV. It was going to be the first non UFC ppv I was going to buy but then they cancelled the event.

    Know they want to add boxing?????????? I was a huge WWE wrestling fan back in the day but never really a boxing fan. I told my friends about this announcement and they told me never in there life are they ever going to pay for boxing. I guess that is not a very good sign if casual fans won’t get into it. Maybe I’m guessing wrong but Dana White seems to be half right. A sad day for MMA.

  • Sam Caplan says:

    Niko: The deal certainly has merchandise potential but did Affliction really need to agree to partner with Golden Boy in order to get licensing rights? Affliction has done a tremendous job becoming a hip fashion style with males 18-34. Why wouldn’t Golden Boy not want to work a merchandise deal that was stand alone from the MMA promotion? What I am saying is, if Affliction values working with Golden Boy in a merchandising capacity, do they really need to lose millions on an MMA promotion in order to be able to get that deal?

  • tricky dicky says:

    lol, I don’t recall seeing grandiose pontifications everytime Dana white talks about major announcements..

  • Mike Rome says:

    The toy deal was a more important announcement than this.

    This is more like a way to save money as the ship crashes. The initial structure of this company was built on the premise that the first show would do a 2.5 mill sellout gate and 250-300,000 buys, and it would grow from there. It’s strongly rumored that Arlovski’s salary is actually not flat, and increases each show. This shows how unrealistic their expectations were. They didn’t come close to their expectations, and the numbers just don’t work, so now they are attempting to minimize losses. Even if they get Tito Ortiz and do Fedor/Tito, which is the biggest money match they can do right now, you will still have roster costs of 5-6 million.

    HBO is not going to air joint shows. It makes no sense for them on a million levels, it won’t happen.

    The MMA lesson of this year is that without regular television infrastructure, wise fiscal decisions, and more than 1 or 2 stars, you just can’t compete with the UFC.

  • Cannon J says:

    They’ve already lost millions on the promotion side. Evidently, they don’t want to completely abandon the promotional aspect, so they strike a deal with Golden Boy. They can minimize their cost exposure promoting events while gaining a merchandising edge. Golden Boy gains a merchandising component, and gets some low risk exposure to MMA. This is far from a saving grace for Affliction, but it helps them stay alive. They can also show investors that the clothing can potentially yield X amount of dollars through this deal.

    HBO throwing cold water on the deal by refusing to run MMA is a terrible sign. The long-term outlook isn’t all that good at this point, but I do think that Affliction getting back to its core business is a fairly smart move. As I said, this looks like a really low risk proposition for Golden Boy, also. If they could have gotten HBO on board when these two entities initially hooked up, I think they could have made some waves in the MMA business. As it is, this clothing aspect is a small positive among a sea of mistakes. This quite obviously wasn’t industry changing news.

  • skwirrl says:

    Even the most un-boxing-educated MMA fans love a standup war. Vazquez Marquez 4 — Cotto vs whomever — Margarito vs Whomever — THERE ARE LOTS OF FIGHTS AFFLICTION BOY CAN MAKE THAT WILL SELL. MMA fans don’t like boxing, but they are always there for a good old brawl. Which is why most like MMA, it ain’t for the submission grappling for the Rasslin fans.

  • Ken says:

    trump is a brand. affliction pays trump to bask in his equity and do some photo ops and promo for them. sam caplan could give trump half a million and he’d be singing his praises too.

  • el boxeo says:

    hbo will eventually come around.. just wait and see…. HBO is GBP back pocket… especially if oscar decides to keep fighting (which it looks like it will be two more past pacquio) then if gbp wants to really get mma onto HBO they will…

    I honestly think that this move is DLH looking for viable opportunites after his fighting career is over… they may not be super involved until DLH finally decides to retire… then if you think about it GBP would have lost a huge money maker (DLH fighting career) and have to replace that with a sport that can be a great money maker and rising in popularty (MMA)… this is a great move for GBP as company if they are able to use HBO as a vehcile to make money selling fights either mma or boxing..

    last night HBO only distributed the PPV and didnt have their anouncers for the marquez v. casamayor PPV… (they had Mario “A.C. Slater” as a anouncer for gods sake) but mabye that will be the route that GBP takes with regards to Affliction PPV in the future… HBO doesnt have to be fully on board but they can distribute the PPV while Affliction and GBP pay the rest… that seems like a more successful way to make money doing PPV

    plus GBP probally has equal or better marketing resources than the ufc… they have huge sponsors that are on DLH nut sack..

    great move for affliction and smart on their part to realize that they probally wouldnt have made it under the present circumstances and needed to think out of the box to SURVIVE…. (take notes Elite XC)

  • jdavis says:

    ESPN was reporting that Golden Boy offered HBO to put Arlovski vs Barnett on the Oct. 18 Pavlik-Hopkins card but HBO declined. I wonder if that was the “big” industry changing announcement they were hoping to make? HBO doesn’t seem to have any interest at all in MMA and HBO has really started to crack down on their out of control spending for sports, particularly boxing (which is why their main announcers weren’t at Marquez vs Casamayor). I can’t imagine Golden Boy booking a big name boxing draw without HBO footing the bill, they are used to HBO paying a licensing fee and paying for the advertising and the ppv production cost, to book a big draw on a Affliction show they are going to have to front all that money themselves(Affliction can’t do it). To sell a boxing ppv you have to have a big name draw, being a mixed card isn’t going to sell it and the Golden Boy name brand isn’t going to sell it(and we already know Affliction can’t sell big on it’s brand name or “stars”). It really seems like this whole thing will hinge on whether HBO decides to get involved or not, if HBO picks up the tab for a big boxing draw they might do ok but without that I don’t see them picking up much interest from MMA or boxing fans.

  • nikoMMA says:

    Sam , i don’t think affliction is making a lot of money promoting , they lose a lot of money in the first fight and they know its not gonna work, with UFC around and no Randy ? .Affliction was interesting for the Fedor vs Randy fight and this is not gonna happen. This is a great move for them , they are gonna still be in business ,Golden Boy is gonna be promoting and maybe in the future works.

    I think this is being taken the wrong way;its not a move from Affliction ,its a move from Golden Boy trying to enter in the MMA world and that’s a huge announcement.

  • Simon Cason says:

    I wish people(no offense) would stop speculating and someone actually get dumbass T-shirt guy or Big Wig Trump or Golden Panty-Hose Boy or somebody like that to come out and explain why their pulling out leg and stop the bullshitting. I mean do all of these morons think we are all mindless fans who dont know that UFC is dominating the market with no end in sight and that we dont know that the T-Shirt company is only bring in people who have deep pockets with no buisness in the sport of mma, just throwing money around isnt going to fix anything. Why dont they just be clear about what they are trying to say and what their intentions are.
    I’m sure everyone here (everyone here being an expert and all) know that the UFC was something like 43 million in the hole before they found the right formula with the Ultimate Fighter series and the marketing of several established fighters and trying to expand to new global arena’s all the while doing everything they can to further to sport and make it better. I mean MMA wouldn’t even be legal right now if the UFC hadn’t done the necessary things to make mma legal and no longer looked at as a combat sport filled wilth death and human cockfighting and brutality and barbarinisim.

    Stop pulling our legs. If you want our respect and you want us a fans, then do the right thing, make the best moves possible, make us happy, and dont make the mistake of making it all about the money right away while lying and saying your all about the fighter and making them happy.
    Affliction’s mma ground breaking announcement=B.S.

  • jdavis says:

    This announcement wasn’t a new partner for Affliction it was a deal to co-promote 4 PPVs with Golden Boy. They didn’t say anything at all about Golden Boy actually becoming a MMA promoter or a business partner through this deal just that they were going to put boxing on Affliction PPVs. If Golden Boy was wanting to move into MMA then they would of bought into Affliction and gotten into actually promoting MMA not going 50/50 on a handful of ppvs where they supply the boxers and Affliction provides Mixed Martial Artist.

  • Dr.Stoppage says:

    If Fedor’s fighting,I’m buying it.
    If not,then…welll…..

  • Dr.Stoppage says:

    Oh, or if it’s fought in a YAMMA PIT…I’m buying that,too.

  • ViciousUppercut says:

    Affliction & Golden Boy. Sounds like a gay porno flick

  • warcry says:

    What an audacious ploy. Affliction is trying its heart out to make a big splash. Such a big risk reward.

  • ar0n says:

    i just dont see how you so called mma pundits dont understand the amount of money this can potentially pour into afflictions production and events.

    it all comes down to the dollar, affliction the “T shirt guys” are gonna make t shirts for golden boy, and golden boy, with a relatively large and MUCH LARGER history of producing events is going to help affliction co promote, promote, and cross promote the brand….i dont see how this hurts anything.

    of course boxing fans are going to scoff at mma on a card, and vice versa, instead of trying to pick apart why not embrace that another company is trying extremely hard to make its place in the MMA world by bringing us fights that would of never happened had they not come along. how can an injection of MORE MONEY and more partnerships with an established promoter of a similiar but different genre not gonna help the state of other companies across the board? all of these things do indeed help MMA and all caplan and others do is complain and find reasons to determine it dead in the water before its even begun.

    am i wrong or is sam caplan NOT an MMA fan? after reading enough of his blogs im convinced he is an elitest who has proven himself wrong over and over and over. and he will undoubtedly do it again. which is why i continue generally skip over his posts..also im sorry to hear your wife was injured by i am sure glad not to have to see your constant posts about her non existent career in mma.

  • Imbecile says:

    Sam, I agree with you on this one.

    I think one benefit this partnership allows is that it helps Affliction deal with their pathetically thin roster. They would have serious trouble at this point filling out even two more fight cards. This allows them to put their few headliners, mostly heavyweights, on cards that are filled up with boxing matches.

    The downside is that with this deal Affliction won’t be the savior for all those looking for an alternative to the UFC. Adding boxing onto a card immediately takes up a large number of slots for fights that might be shown on PPV. If you have one or two 12 round boxing matches, you only have room for one or two MMA matches during the course of that PPV. There just isn’t enough live satellite time for purchase to make more fights available. That means most of Affliction’s current roster won’t be televised, and it will be reserved for guys like Arlovski and Fedor exclusively.

    So that means you will likely get two boxing matches and two MMA matches on a three hour PPV. There just isn’t time for anything else. Now, if the boxing main event is big enough, boxing fans are used to not caring as much about the undercard, and paying solely for the main event. But MMA fans are not going to be too eager to shell out money for only two MMA fights, especially if they could care less about the boxing matches. And if they intersperse the content, MMA fans will not be too happy at all if you throw in one three round MMA fight that ends with a KO or submission early in the first round, then they have to sit through a 12 round decision in a boxing match just to watch the next MMA showing.

    I think you might be able to make this deal profitable for one, single event, if you had a major boxing match headlining, along with say, Fedor vs. Arlovski. But if you throw a major boxing match at the top of the card, it likely will cost boxing PPV prices. Are MMA fans willing the pay $59.99 just to watch Fedor vs. Arlovski and a boxing match? I doubt it.

    It sounds like an interesting idea, but I just don’t see how this is going to work. It seems like Affliction is grasping at straws trying to come up with ways to make their company relevant.

  • sven says:

    All I can say is that they’ll be losing my money. I have no interest in boxing at all and I will not pay for a card that features it.

  • Truth says:


    If a few of the so-called “fans” of MMA refuse to buy a Fedor/Arlovski card because of some boxing matches being included on it, I’m sure they’ll be replaced by boxing fans who learn to appreciate both sports. If MMA’s promoted to the boxing fans, they’ll accept it. If Dana has proven one thing with the way he’s run the UFC, it’s that you can make most people believe anything if you market it well enough.

    Personally, I don’t understand why there’s been an increase in negative press towards everything non-UFC on this site and others. More MMA gives more fighters work, and more importantly it gives promoters a motive to not be blatantly corrupt (eg. Dana’s blackballing of certain fighters). It seems to me that every MMA fan benefits if sites such as these report on what’s actually happening in the sport and not waste time on pure speculation which appears more-and-more like biased attempts to plant seeds against the UFC’s competitors.

    Then again, maybe press credentials at UFC events are still dependent on favourable coverage. That’s how it was with Sherdog a few years ago, so it wouldn’t be a stretch to think that things are still that way with MMA-specific sites in general.


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