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Atencio Takes Exception to White Recruiting His Fighters

Written by Tom Ngo
June 22nd, 2009
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Vitor Belfort

Some might have missed it, however Affliction Entertainment’s VP Tom Atencio certainly didn’t. During a commercial break in this past Saturday’s “TUF 9 Finale,” UFC president Dana White publicly stated that he is intending to make a run at former UFC champ Vitor Belfort. The only problem is he’s still under contract with Affliction with a fight right around the corner.

“[White] did say something [about Belfort],” Atencio told 5thRound.com about White’s recruiting tactics. “I’m talking to [Belfort’s] management, so we’re in negotiations. Where Dana came up with that, I don’t know. Maybe he’s just trying to stir the pot. That’s what he does and he does it well.”

Although Atencio was gracious as always throughout the interview, you did get a sense that he may have been a tad irked by the fact that White was trying to dip into Affliction’s talent pool.

The conversation even swayed towards other major sports, where if an owner openly discusses wanting a  player under contract with an opposing team, that owner could be fined for tampering.

“Maybe he wants to get hit with a tampering charge,” Atencio jokingly told us about what he thought White’s motives were. “I just don’t know, I can’t speak for Dana. I’m sure he just wants to stir the pot, like I said.”

Oddly, White may have jumped the gun in announcing his pursuit of Belfort’s services. Although the Brazilian has won his previous four scraps, the last two coming under Affliction’s banner, what if he were to lose his “Affliction: Trilogy” bout against Jorge Santiago?

Would White and Co. show the same desire for a 32-year-old fighter that just dropped his last fight?

Interesting maneuver by White. We’ll just have to wait and see how this plays out.

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