Affliction Goes From Selling Harmless Tees To Attempting A UFC Knockout
But like any other successful business, there are others who want a piece of the pie. Donald Trump and Affliction have taken a huge bite, and now appear to be chipping away at the UFC's base, not only in terms of talent, but also their fans.
With the signing of Fedor Emelianenko, Randy Couture, Tim Sylvia and Andrei Arlovski, Affliction has arguably the stronger heavyweight division. Many consider Fedor to be the best fighter alive, and Couture left the UFC as their reigning Heavyweight champ, a title that he took from Sylvia, who fought several title fights with Arlovski.
In the past, many fighters have worn Affliction clothing in the UFC Octagon before and after fights. UFC Welterweight champ Georges St. Pierre was last seen sporting Affliction apparel at UFC 79 in December 2007. Since then it has been banned at all UFC events.
Ticket sales for the recent Affliction Banned event matched those of the UFC's results at the Honda Center, which occurred on the same night. Affliction's fighter salaries for Banned were significantly higher than those for UFC Fight Night participants on the same night. 7 Affliction fighters took home more than UFC's main event winner Anderson Silva.
Although the UFC still has the strongest light heavyweight division in MMA, featuring champion Forrest Griffin, former champs Chuck Liddell and Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, and other exciting young fighters like Rashad Evans, Matt Hamill, Brandon Vera et al, Affliction is still making their mark, with fan favorites like Renato "Babalu" Sobral and Antonio Rogerio "Minotoro" Nogueira.
Former UFC light heavyweight champ Tito Ortiz was in the Affliction Banned audience, and is rumored to be Babalu's next opponent. If Trump and Affliction continue to shell out the big bucks to their fighters, more and more fighters will cross over, which might allow Affliction to do what no other organization has been able to do: supplant the UFC as the worlds premier MMA organization.
Only time will tell whether or not Affliction will surpass UFC, or if it will fade back into oblivion like other organizations swallowed up by the monster that is the UFC. But as long as Donald Trump continues to finance it, and they continue to pry away top talent from the UFC, then they will definitely give White and the UFC a run for their money. We can only hope.