Atencio Speaks Out on “Affliction: Trilogy” Cancellation

Written by Tom Ngo
July 24th, 2009

Tom Atencio

Affliction Entertainment vice president Tom Atencio has confirmed that his company’s August 1st “Affliction: Trilogy” show has been called off. The charismatic VP stated that co-headliner Josh Barnett’s abrupt exit from the card made it impossible to find a suitable replacement.

“Finding an opponent for the No. 1 ranked MMA heavyweight champion in such a short period of time was a huge endeavor, and I’m thrilled at the amount of fighters willing to take on this challenge,” Atencio stated. “But in the end, we just didn’t have enough time to promote a new fight to our standards.”

Barnett was slated to challenge WAMMA heavyweight king Fedor Emelianenko for his strap in the most anticipated heavyweight clash in MMA history, however the California State Athletic Commission refused to grant him a license after traces of metabolite (2a-methyl-5a-androstan- 3a-ol-17-one), of the anabolic steroid Drostanolone, were found in his system after submitting a pre-fight screening on June 25th.

Confirmation of Barnett’s failed test came Wednesday, just 10 days before the lights were to turn on inside the Honda Center in Anaheim, California.

The former UFC heavyweight champion had tested positive for roids back in 2002 as well.

Although Atencio remained positive that he could find a “worthy” substitute to take on MMA’s Terminator, it appears that no one they interviewed for the job fit the box office billing they required.

Strikeforce stud Brett Rogers, Jeff Monson, Don Frye, “King” Mo Lawal and Paul Buentello were among the fighters mentioned for the slot, however it was former UFC light heavyweight champ Vitor Belfort that was the leading candidate to land the gig.

Word is that Showtime, Affliction’s pay-per-view provider, insisted on pulling the plug on the event knowing that a Belfort/Emelianenko bout would not draw powerful PPV numbers.

Fans who purchased tickets for the event should contact Josh Barnett directly in regards to a refund. J/K. Please reach out to Ticketmaster or Ticketmaster.com to get your money back.

However, the finger does get pointed directly in Barnett’s direction on this one. Atencio might even be pointing a different finger at the heavyweight that cost his organization and its partners millions of dollars.

In closing, the company issued this somber statement regarding their canceled show:

Affliction is deeply disappointed that the undercard is also canceled through no fault of its own. Affliction stands behind the company’s brands and delivers premium products to the most passionate and loyal customers. Affliction’s first priority is to ensure that all future events live up to the company’s high standards.

MMA fans around the world would like to thank you, Josh Barnett, for making this all possible!

Don’t forget to follow @5thRound on Twitter, Facebook and Google+!