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All “Affliction: Trilogy” Signs Point to Vitor Belfort

Written by Tom Ngo
July 23rd, 2009
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Nine days and counting until “Affliction: Trilogy” jumps off, or should we say sputters off, inside the Honda Center in Anaheim, California and the night’s main event still isn’t finalized. Although there are some names still available, the talent pool just got a lot more shallow after two Strikeforce heavyweights became unavailable.

Mike Afromowitz, Strikeforce’s director of communications, told MMAjunkie.com that Fabricio Werdum and Brett Rogers will not be available to face Fedor Emelianenko at Affliction’s pivotal third promotion.

“It’s safe to say neither Fabricio or Brett will be fighting on August 1st,” Afromowitz said. “The plan is still for Fabricio to fight on Aug. 15, and we hope to have an opponent named soon.

“As for Brett, nothing is finalized, but he won’t be fighting on August 1st.”

Affliction was abruptly pinned behind the eight-ball after heavyweight Josh Barnett was busted yesterday by the California State Atheltic Commission for steroids in a pre-fight screening taken June 25th.

So that leads us to the front-runner to land the co-leading role on Affliction’s pay-per-view show, former UFC light heavyweight champ Vitor Belfort. The Fight Network is reporting that “The Phenom,” who was slated to battle American Top Team superstar Jorge Santiago at “Trilogy,” has already signed the dotted line.

However, during Wednesday’s conference call, Affliction VP Tom Atencio said that he’s narrowed his search to three fighters, none that he would mention by name, but nothing finalized.

“Until you hear it from me, until I have a contract signed, they’re all rumors,” Atencio stated. “It’s everybody trying to come out and get their moment in the sun. But until you absolutely hear it from my voice, from me, it’s not finalized.

“Until I have a contract, you’re not going to hear anything from me. It’s pretty cut and dry.”

Understood, but we need to hear soon. Clock’s a tickin’.

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