Affliction: The Requiem

Darren WongSenior Analyst IJuly 25, 2009

NEW YORK - JANUARY 20:  Heavyweight mixed martial arts champion Fedor 'The Last Emperor' Emelianenko of Russia attends the 'Day of Reckoning' press conference at Trump Tower January 20, 2009 in New York City.  (Photo by Joe Corrigan/Getty Images)

After a long wait for one of the most anticipated fight cards of the year, we are left not with a Trilogy, but instead, only a eulogy.

It seemed that by naming the event "Trilogy," Affliction Entertainment had finally admitted defeat, and settled in for it's final MMA event.

Yet even that was too much to ask.

However, while Trilogy likely would have been the last Affliction event, only one thing stopped the event from going forward.

Josh Barnett.

After Barnett failed his drug test, Affliction tried desperately to fill the void left by the consensus No. 2 heavyweight.

Yet while Vitor Belfort appeared a lock to replace Barnett, many polls across the Internet already showed a lack of fan approval for Belfort as a replacement.

But while other fighters may have been available as well, the lustre of a No. 1 vs No. 2 matchup was simply gone.

And while Fedor's management team disapproved of Vitor as the replacement, this was likely not the final straw.

Speculation exists that the PPV providers were hesitant to go ahead with the event without Barnett, while Affliction management worried that there wouldn't be enough time to promote the new main event properly.

Now, that the end of Affliction's turn as an MMA promotion seems all but official, there are still some questions left before we can finally let Affliction rest in peace.

Affliction had paid it's fighters handsomely, with more guaranteed money than even UFC events.  Are fighters going to be able to make that kind of money again? Or are promoters going to use the death of Affliction to rationalize lower fighter purses?

How long will the Affliction fighters stay out of commission?  When Elite XC went down in smoke, it left many of it's fighter suspended in legal limbo, waiting for contracts to be resolved.

Hopefully we are able to see Affliction's fighters back fighting again sooner than that.  The other question of course, is where these fighters will end up.

Will this finally be the time for the UFC to sign Fedor?  With Barnett and Affliction out of the picture, there are few good, challenging options left for Emelianenko.  What will his next move be?

Will Affliction Clothing make a comeback?  I've always thought Affliction clothes were a lot more stylish than TapouT.  It appears that the UFC may be allowing Affliction to return as a sponsor.  Maybe Affliction lives T-shirt form.