After ruling the MMA world for so many years in the United States, the UFC is now under attack from all angles. While one competitor signed a network television deal, and others joined forces to co-promote events, the UFC hadn’t even dropped a sweat. However, Affliction: Banned’s debut this weekend certainly has the UFC’s attention.
“[White] is obviously worried,” Affliction Vice President Tom Atencio told TAGG Radio. “By him putting on another show, he sees us. We’re in his sights.”
The fact that other organizations have put on event after event without the UFC paying any attention to them shows how legitimate Affliction actually is. The “show” that Atencio is referring to is the UFC Fight Night 14 that was put together to compete against Affiction: Banned on July 19th.
In fact, not only did they put on a last minute show to go head up against the start up MMA organization, but it will also be airing free on Spike TV, where as Affliction: Banned is only available on Pay-Per-View.
For many years, Affliction was strictly a clothing company, which happened to promote extensively in the UFC. With the most popular UFC fighters draping their clothing before and after their fights, the Affliction brand grew to enormous levels of popularity.
“[White] used to wear our clothes,” Atencio said. “He used to wear our T-shirts.”
However, earlier this year White made the shrewd decision to ban all of his fighters from wearing any Affliction clothing at UFC events, primarily due to White’s ongoing feud with former UFC Heavyweight Champion Randy Couture. Couture runs his own line, “Xtreme Couture,” under Affliction.
White contends that he banned Affliction because they were to start up their own MMA organization, one that would be in direct competition with the UFC. If that is the case, White has every right to protect his company.
However, White has gone on the offensive of late, calling Atencio and Affliction’s attempt to get into the MMA game a “joke” because they are just a clothing company with no idea about how to run a MMA organization.
“Where does that comes from,” Atencio wondered of White’s insults. “I would assume it comes from competition. [White] obviously is worried about what we’re doing…we’re obviously a threat to him, so maybe he feels like he needs to attack me. (But mainly), I think it’s just business. I completely understand. Business is business, and he’s protecting his.”
Affliction’s entrance into the MMA world has certainly raised the stakes, pressuring all other promotions to consistently put on great shows. As these two, and others, continue to duke it out to win market share, it will be the fans that walk away victorious.