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Affliction’s demise retold through court documents

In anticipation of this weekend’s Strikeforce Heavyweight Grand Prix, Randy Couture sat down with Affliction Clothing’s Tom Atencio to discuss their picks. During the video Tom threw in this lil jab at his former best buddy Josh Barnett:

“I’m gonna go with Josh. Personally, I’d love to see, just because of the history — which we all know about — I would love to see Brett knock Josh out. I probably shouldn’t say it, but I’m gonna say it! But at the end of the day, I think Josh is gonna win.”

Jeez, if we were going by history Randy Couture wouldn’t be sitting there trading predictions with you. But yes, we all know the history Tom Atencio speaks of: Josh Barnett popped positive for steroids two weeks before he was supposed to headline Affliction’s third show and because of that Affliction’s promotional arm closed shop.

I’ve always found that version of history a bit shifty because anyone paying attention to the SS Affliction could see they were already heading straight towards a Titanic sized iceberg, and it wasn’t Josh Barnett steering the boat. Now new information unearthed via that lawsuit between Affliction and M-1 Global shows that they were already in the process of abandoning ship. Goddamn, did you sea how overboard I went on boat related puns there?

As set forth in the Court’s decision, at a “July 13, 2009 meeting, Bassiri and Lawrence Epstein, UFC’s general counsel, discussed the possibility that UFC would assume responsibility for the Trilogy show and postpone it to September 19, 2009, in Dallas.  Bassiri told Epstein that Affliction Promotions wanted to leave the MMA promotion business and re-establish its relationship with the UFC.”

According to the decision, “[o]n July 21, 2009, M-1 learned from Affliction that the California State Athletic Commission would not renew Josh Barnett’s license because he had tested positive for the use of steroids.”

Then, “[o]n July 22, 2009, Atencio offered [Brett] Rogers $500,000 to replace Barnett as Emelianenko’s opponent at the August 1, 2009 Trilogy event,” but “Strikeforce, with whom Rogers then had a promotional contract, was not willing to release him from his contract to fight in the Trilogy event, however.”

“[O]n July 23, 2009, Strikeforce released Rogers to fight in the event.  By that time, however, Affliction Promotions had decided to cancel Trilogy.  At 4:00 p.m. that day, Affliction concluded a deal with UFC.”

There were a bunch of other interesting tidbits of information gleaned out of legal documents, including more financial details from Fedor’s contract. See if you can keep track of how much money Affliction ended up shovelling M-1’s way to get Fedor on board:

- As of March 2008, Fedor had an oral agreement with M-1 that “obliged him to fight for M-1 for a two-year period in exchange for $2 million per bout, as well as a $1.5 million signing bonus”.  Fedor also has an 8.5% interest in the company.

- On April 14, 2008, Affliction and M-1 agreed that Fedor Emelianenko would be paid a $300k purse which was reported pay, and received an additional $1.2M consulting fee via M-1 Global, which totaled to a $1.5M purse after re-negotiating an earlier contract which did not include the Consulting Agreement (which was set up after considering some financials regarding taxes).

- Vadim Finkelstein invested $1 Million to open Affliction stores in Russia to make Affliction happy in order to form an Affliction/M-1 Global business, which they were also hoping to team up with Japanese promotion DREAM to run some co-promotional events in Japan, but Affliction was worried about the costs of such venture.

- On December 8, 2008, M-1 and Affliction clothing agreed on a $1 Million sponsorship deal that would heavily feature Affliction on the M-1 Challenge broadcasts for the 2008 and 2009 seasons.

That’s a mighty load of booty, tis!