Atencio and Emelianenko Looking to Partner "Until 2012"

Written by Tom Ngo
June 6th, 2009


Atencio Wants Fedor “Until 2012” – If Affliction VP Tom Atencio isn’t promising anything past their “Trilogy” show, why did he tell 5thRound.com that he intends to keep Fedor Emelianenko employed for another three years?

Although the reigning WAMMA heavyweight champion’s impending free agency officially jumps off the very second his fight with Josh Barnett comes to an end, it doesn’t keep Affliction’s front-man up at night one bit.Atencio is confident that when it’s time to belly-up to the negotiating table, he and his Russian comrades will be able to come to terms.

“Well, contractually, yes, but we have a great relationship with him, so we’re really not too concerned about that,” Atencio told 5thRound.com in an exclusive interview regarding Emelianenko’s contract expiring. “We’re gonna move forward with M1-Global, they’re our partners, we just haven’t finalized the little nuances of the contract. But yeah, we are looking to bring him on until 2012.”

Through 2012? Why would the non-committal Atencio want to lock-in MMA’s Terminator if his organization wasn’t intending on hosting future mixed martial arts shows?

Why would he want to make that kind of commitment if he lives by the “I take this one event at a time” code that he often preaches?

The fact of the matter is Atencio would love nothing more than to do this forever, even though he’s been hush-hush on a future past their third show.

If Affliction decides to roll out more cards, the easygoing vice president knows they can’t survive as a company if they keep riding The Emelianenko Express, as Barnett will mark the soon-to-be 33-year-old’s third fight in 25 months.

“… Fedor’s record is proven,” Atencio told us about his most popular fighter. “It’s unmatched. A 30-1 record, and the one was on a stoppage due to a cut. But Fedor, he needs some time off too. We can’t just keep bringing Fedor back [event after event].”

And that’s why he’s so amped about “Trilogy.” Although it’s a bit away from completion, the roster thus far is sick. With the likes of the aforementioned Barnett, former UFC champ Vitor Belfort, former Dream middleweight king Gegard Mousasi and the ever-popular Tim Sylvia, this star-studded cast is more than qualified to carry the card without the presence of “The Last Emperor.”

“If you look at the fighters we have, you look at “Babalu” [Renato Sobral], we have Vitor, we have Paul Buentello, Tim Sylvia. So we have heavyweights, but we also have other weight classes that can definitely carry a card,” said Atencio. “We are looking at other main events, be it Vitor or Gegard. There’s other guys in this event that can be the main event, but we have chosen to have Fedor in the main event.”

And we certainly appreciate that the Russian is on this upcoming card, because his scrap with Barnett is gonna be nasty. Atencio has been in the lab working on this for a while, and now, thanks to him, MMA fans will be able to witness the biggest heavyweight fight in MMA history.

“This is the fight the world has been wanting to see, anybody that knows MMA knows that this is the ultimate match-up,” Atencio told us in closing. “Both are fantastic mixed martial artists, as well as friends, so it’s going to be an exciting night.

“So this is the pinnacle, we are reaching Mount Everest.”

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