Yesterday’s teleconference that announced the return of Randy Couture to the UFC was big no matter how you look at it. Something went under the radar during the announcement though as Lesnar and Couture were speaking. Dana White responded to Affliction’s bold move of holding “Day of Reckoning” at the Thomas and Mack Center in Las Vegas by re-signing Couture and commented, “I would be fu*king horrified if Affliction is still in business by January.”
After “Affliction: Banned,” many felt that the world’s best heavyweights were at Affliction, but the signing of Couture may have shifted the balance. The most likely location of a Fedor Emelianenko vs. Randy Couture fight is now in the Octagon.
Affliction Entertainment VP, Tom Atencio, has stated that he’s willing to work with the UFC to make a Couture/Emelianenko fight happen, even if it is in the UFC. Rumors were popping up about the UFC seriously considering the co-promotion as a viable option, but the long-term extension that Couture signed basically closed the door on that idea.
Emelianenko is said to have a long-term exclusive contract with Affliction, but nothing has been signed as of yet and regardless of the exclusivity, the contract also contains an out that would allow Emelianenko to chase a fight with Couture even if it is in the UFC.
There’s no doubt that yesterday’s teleconference was a direct strike at Affliction as the UFC is looking at another huge payday at UFC 91 with Randy Couture defending his UFC heavyweight title against a very green, but big-time name in Brock Lesnar.