Greetings MMA Supporters:
Looks like it could be a tough call this Saturday. Do you shell out $40.00 for Affliction:Banned, or watch UFC:Silva vs. Irvin free on Spike?
Much like the old yarn, "Nothing comes for free," the UFC event looks like it's going to be nothing. Could Dana White make it any more obvious that he cobbled this event together just to steal the thunder from Affliction?
Aside from the interest factor of watching Middleweight Champ Anderson Silva compete up a class at Light Heavyweight, there really isn't much else worth watching. Brandon Vera is fighting a new guy in the other main card fight. And with the exception of Hermes Franca vs. Frank Edgar, the fights are between TUF alumni and unheralded newcomers.
I suppose on the one hand that it's very generous of Dana to allow an event like this to happen, if nothing else than for the experience and exposure it will give to the new guys.
Lord knows, Dana's best talent is being poached by all the other up-and-coming promotions out there. That, and the fact that a growing number of elite fighters want nothing to do with the guy must be an unwelcome drain on a quickly evaporating talent pool.
The Affliction:Banned card reads like a who's who of the best former UFC fighters. There are former champions and top contenders, like Tim Sylvia, Andrei Arlovski, Josh Barnett, Pedro Rizzo, Matt Lindland, Renato Sobral, Paul Buentello, and Vitor Belfort.
It appears Dana White is losing all of his best Heavyweights. At this rate, he'll be promoting Bumfights with street punks and crackheads.
The Affliction:Banned event looks to be an intense showdown of the best fighters you never thought you would see.
Affliction seems to have connected all the elements that UFC sought so hard to control when they bought Pride. They have triumphed where UFC failed by having the guts to throw Fedor Emelianenko a huge bag of cash. They have put themselves on the path to set up the most anticipated Heavyweight match of all time: Fedor Emelianenko vs. Randy Couture.
The success of this event could serve as a huge wake-up call to the UFC brass. They've been accused (rightly or wrongly) of being too tight with the purse strings for years now. If more and more of their fighters are willing to jump ship to other promotions, all the money in the world won't be enough to purchase their perceived loss of credibility.
For my money, I'll be watching Affliction:Banned, and I'll be taping UFC:Silva vs. Irvin to watch the next day.