Affliction's vice-prez, Tom Atencio, not worried about competition
Date: 2008-12-20 20:00:00
Submitted By: MMA Fight Dump
Despite a crammed month of combat-sports offerings from the Ultimate Fighting Championship, World Extreme Cagefighting and even partner Golden Boy Productions, Tom Atencio believes January's "Affliction: Day of Reckoning" event is poised for success. In fact, Atencio, Affliction's Vice President, thinks the show could outdo its debut event "Banned," which took place in July and drew 14,832 spectators with more than 100,000 pay-per-view buys. "I think the WEC and the UFC, they're going to do what they need to do to make themselves successful to block us in every way, shape and form," Atencio said during a Thursday media conference call. Back in September, Affliction moved its "Day of Reckoning" card from Oct. 11 to Jan. 24. It also moved the event location from Las Vegas back to Anaheim's Honda Center, which hosted Affliction's debut "Banned" event on July 19. The UFC then scheduled pay-per-view events for Jan. 17 and Jan. 31. The WEC, a sister promotion of the UFC, also decided to hold a rare Sunday card in San Diego – one day after "Day of Reckoning." And although Affliction and Golden Boy Productions announced a partnership earlier this year, one of GBP's boxing cards will take place the same night as "Day of Reckoning." Just 30 miles away from the Honda Center, Antonio Margarito defends his WBA welterweight boxing title against Shane Mosley at a Golden Boy show at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. When MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) asked Atencio about the swarm of competition, he downplayed the significance. "The Golden Boy thing is a non-issue," Atencio said. "I don't see the boxing and MMA crossover just of yet. So once again, I just think it's a non-issue. "As for the other ones, the UFC tried to block us last time and counter-programmed us, and it really didn't hurt us. It obviously made a small effect. They're just going to do what they need to do to protect their business, and all I can say is bring the challenge on. Hopefully, I can step up and my partners, Kelly Swanson and everyone involved (with Affliction), can step up and make this successful and show that [the UFC is] not the only game in town." Soon after Affliction announced "Banned," which featured a main event between Fedor Emelianenko and former UFC heavyweight champion Tim Sylvia, the UFC put together UFC Fight Night 14. While Affliction's event came with a hefty PPV price tag, the UFC offered its event for free on Spike TV – with a rare opportunity to watch UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva, arguably the world's top pound-for-pound fighter, at no cost. Despite the head-to-head challenge, "Banned" did quite well. According to the California State Athletic Commission, the event drew 14,832 spectators (11,242 paid) for a live gate of nearly $2.1 million. And although the exact figures aren't made public, Atencio claims the event did more than 100,000 PPV buys, which would be a first for any MMA organization outside the UFC. With a headline bout between Emelianenko and former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski on tap for January, "Day of Reckoning" could do even better, Atencio said. "Every time I do something, I want to improve," he said. "I don't want to go back. So, last time we did well over [100,000 PPV buys], which no one else has been able to do in history. We came out like gangbusters, and we're looking to do it again and work off the momentum of the first one." Although "Day of Reckoning" tickets are currently available in all pricing sections, Atencio said sales are swift. "The event is going really, really well," Atencio said. "It's selling. We're extremely happy with how it's going. I can't give you exact numbers. I'm not even really sure to be honest with you. I know I compared them recently, and [the sales] are pretty comparable to the last event." And though "Banned" came up just a few hundred tickets short of official sold-out status in July, Atencio is confident the depth of talent on the "Day of Reckoning" card will get the company over the hump. "Obviously, it's our ultimate goal," Atencio said when asked about a possible sellout. "I'm pretty optimistic about it, too. Like I said, sales are going really well. This event, it speaks for itself. You look at the caliber of talent I have on the phone right now (main-card fighters Chris Horodecki, Vladimir Matyushenko and Renato "Babalu" Sobral) and the caliber that's on the event, I think that you're not going to see another event with this caliber of talent at all together in one night."