Now that Affliction Entertainment is as good as dead, a lot of stories are going to start to surface about how things were run – see what happened after EliteXC crashed for proof of this. Michael Rome already has the first cool story about how Affliction and the UFC were in talks since Randy Couture returned to the Octagon about Affliction shutting down and returning as a sponsor:
In the days following UFC 89 in the U.K., an Affliction representative contacted Randy Couture’s attorney to see if he could put together a call with the UFC to see where the deal stood. Couture’s management put a call together for the Monday after UFC 89. Enter Todd Beard.
Lorenzo Fertitta opened up the call by welcoming everyone on the phone, and Todd Beard started things off by angrily stating “you wanted to talk to us, what do you want?” The call quickly descended into a war of words between Beard and Fertitta, and for the first of many times to come, a deal to take Affliction out of the fight business and put them back into the Octagon was killed.
Immediately following the call, Todd Beard went on Scott Ferrall’s radio show and unleashed an outburst that eventually lead to his removal from his officer position at Affliction. Shortly after this, Kim Couture successfully filed for a restraining order against Todd Beard.
The Kim Couture story changed the sport in a more significant way than most observers realized. By the time the Kim Couture story broke, EliteXC had crashed and burned as a result of the Kimbo Slice scandal, and the people at Showtime and CBS were looking at a number of options to replace EliteXC on CBS. Strikeforce was obviously in the mix, but Affliction was actually the leading contender to replace EliteXC on CBS.
As a result of that radio appearance and Beard’s sordid history that was publicized as a result of the Kim Couture lawsuit, Affliction lost their chance at the deal with Showtime and CBS.
Note that this article is about Affliction’s ‘first’ attempt to shut down and crawl back to the UFC like an ex boyfriend who’s realized playing the field isn’t as fun as they thought it would be. I’ve heard a lot of rumors about Affliction approaching the UFC a few other times, including before their second show went tits up, after their second show went tits up, after UFC 100, and of course after Josh Barnett was pulled from the Trilogy card.
That last meeting is the one I’m most interested about. Was Affliction’s third card canceled as part of their deal to return to the UFC? Other rumors say Showtime (Affliction’s PPV partner) pulled the plug, but I dunno if I buy that. It will be interesting to see what comes out as the truth, because in the MMA scene, it always does eventually.