The most shocking week in MMA history forges on as it is being reported that Affliction Entertainment has decided to cancel their August 1st “Affliction: Trilogy” extravaganza. The news comes on the heels of Wednesday’s announcement that main event fighter Josh Barnett tested positive on pre-fight drug screening.
Josh Gross of SI.com was the first to report the news Friday morning.
Barnett was slated for face WAMMA heavyweight king Fedor Emelianenko, 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 an “Affliction: Trilogy” pre-fight test on June 25th.
Affliction VP Tom Atencio stated on Wednesday that he was leaving no stone unturned in his hunt for a “worthy” substitute. Although he was firmly jammed behind the eight-ball, Atencio made it appear as though they had things under control.
“We are very confident in getting a worthy opponent,” Atencio stated. “I am in the negotiation process with a few fighters and we’ll put on the best fight possible, as we always do, to make sure that the match-up is one of quality and lives up to the standards of Affliction.”
Atencio stated that they had honed their sights on three fighters, no one that he would mention by name, however wanted to reiterate that it would be someone that would please their fans.
“I work with Strikeforce, we share fighters as everybody knows, so I’m talking to them,” Atencio had said of his multitude of options. “There are a lot of fighters out there. I have everyone under the sun coming up to me saying they have the next person that can beat [Fedor]. I have every single name, but I want to make sure that I give a fight that’s worthy for our event and for the fans.”
It was rumored that they were making a push for Strikeforce’s Brett Rogers, however the San Jose, California-based company quickly dispelled that by claiming that their rising star’s schedule was full.
Former UFC light heavyweight champion Vitor Belfort had been the leading candidate to stand opposite the Russian in the night’s main event, however Atencio and Co. must have felt that the matchup wasn’t box office enough, which is wasn’t.
Word on the street is they were also in talks with heavyweight veterans Paul Buentello, Jeff Monson and former WWE employee Bobby Lashley. Light heavyweight prospect Muhammed “King Mo” Lawal’s name was reportedly thrown around as well.
MMAWeekly.com is reporting that Showtime, Affliction’s pay-per-view provider, pushed for the cancellation of their third mixed martial arts promotion.