Affliction Entertainment Vice President Tom Atencio dispelled rumors the current WAMMA heavyweight champion, and Affliction poster boy, Fedor Emelianenko will be fighting again this year. Since 2003, it has been somewhat of a tradition for Emelianenko to fight on a Japanese card every New Year’s Eve, however that will not be the case this year. That is certainly great news for Affliction.
“I spoke with [Emelianenko’s managers] the other day, and they said he is not fighting,” Atencio told MMAJunkie.com about Emelianenko’s next fight. “So that’s just rumors.”
What really got the rumor mill churning was the fact the Emelianenko was sitting front and center at Dream.6, a popular Japanese MMA promotion, just two weeks ago. However, Atencio was assured that he was merely there in support of his fellow Russian teammate, Sergei Kharitonov.
“I’ve been told actually 100 percent that he is not fighting on New Year’s Eve,” Atencio continued. “[The members of Emelianenko’s management team] are our partners. We have extended his contract, and that’s where we’re at.”
Affliction recently rescheduled their “Day of Reckoning” event from October 11th to January 17th. However, the UFC announced this week that they have added UFC 93, which will be held in Dublin, Ireland, on the same date. This “coincidence” has forced Affliction to push their second ever MMA promotion back again, possibly just another week.
“It doesn’t make any sense for us to go head to head with them,” Atencio told MMAWeekly.com about Affliction’s first co-promotion with Golden Boy Entertainment.
Since Emelianenko will not be fighting in Japan before year’s end, that leaves only “Day of Reckoning” as a viable option, and Atencio concurred.
“It looks like it’s on the next [Affliction] show, for sure,” Atencio happily stated in regards to Fedor’s next fight.
No opponent has been set for the world’s consensus #1 heavyweight, however a top fighter was offered the fight, but decided to decline.
“It was supposed to be Josh Barnett, but they turned it down,” Atencio said. “So we’re working on something right now.”
A viable candidate could be Andrei Arlovski, who is also scheduled to be competing on “Day of Reckoning.” However Arlovski will be fighting Roy Nelson this weekend at “EliteXC: Heat,” and his ability to walk away from that fight healthy will be the deciding factor on his availability.