MMA Payout delves into the strategies for Affliction, the UFC, and Strikeforce as they prepare to gorge themselves on the free agency status of ProElite’s fighters. Before moving on, I want to remind everyone that just because ProElite has gone down doesn’t mean their fighters are free to do what they want … many will probably face some trouble breaking free of their contracts before being able to field offers. That being said, here’s Kelsey Philpott on the UFC’s likely strategy:
This one is a bit funny. On one hand, you’d expect Zuffa to sweep in and take its pick of the litter, but that hasn’t necessarily been the case if you look at the organization’s history in the free agent market. In fact, they’ve been quite cautious when it comes to ponying up the dough – Fedor Emelianenko and Joachim Hansen are just two of many examples.
Furthermore, I’m inclined to believe that the Zuffa doesn’t really consider Affliction as its long-term competitor. It’s quite possible that Zuffa may just decide to bide its time and wait for the collapse of Affliction before pouncing on the free agent spoils of the entire industry.
I don’t disagree with this at all. Those that go to Affliction may be looking at a juicier payday, but they should also expect to sit out until sometime in the spring when a third Affliction event happens … IF a third Affliction event happens. The UFC has always said that they won’t involve themselves in a bidding war, and I don’t see why they’re going to change their tune now. The day the UFC starts taking Affliction seriously is the day Affliction produces a business model that isn’t burning gigantic mountains of cash. Until then, anything they do that involves spending more money is just seen as speeding up the inevitable crash and burn of the promotion.
The UFC has already proved with Tim Sylvia and Andrei Arlovski that they’re willing to provide Affliction with the rope to hang themselves financially. Honestly, there’s no one coming out of EliteXC that’s going to be a game changer for Affliction. While I’m sure the UFC will bid on several fighters such as Jake Shields, Rafael Feijao, and Wilson Reis, I don’t think you’ll be seeing them going crazy like some other promotions will.