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Would an ‘HBO – Affliction – Golden Boy Trio’ Produce the Next Generation of Fight PPVs?

What is Affliction up to now? After ticket sales for their second show ‘Day of Reckoning’ were much slower than expected they have decided to move the event date to sometime in January 2009. Affliction COO Michael Cohan told MMARated.com yesterday that they would be making a huge announcement in 2 weeks time and it “is truly going to change the world of mixed martial arts.”

The MMATraining.com team got together, contacted some sources close to the situation and below is our unsupported theory of what is ahead for Affliction.

Speculation of this major announcement has ranged from a Tito Ortiz vs. Fedor main event to Affliction getting a network TV deal, and a few other ideas that have came out of left field. Decent theories, but does a Fedor – Ortiz match change the world of MMA and shock anyone? It would shock me if they allowed Tito near the same ring as the best heavyweight on the planet, but changes to the world of MMA would remain neutral.

A network TV deal? EliteXC is already doing this and results have ranged from poor to abysmal in the last 2 months. Maybe the change they are talking about would be to make it profitable? Hardly a reasonable conclusion either.

Here is a new theory. Affliction will announce that they will promote a huge MMA/Boxing card and put this on PPV or possibly HBO. The boxing/MMA card will have some of the Affliction MMA stars (Fedor, Arlovski and Barnett). The boxing stars will be the likes of Affliction’s sponsored athletes Zab Judah and Shane Mosley. They would likely have to pay the boxers higher ends purses, but remember that either could make up to $800,000, which would be less than Tim Sylvia was paid to get beat on and submitted by Fedor in 36 seconds at Affliction 1.

Another piece of this puzzle is this: Remember when Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions was going to get involved in MMA? Then they backed out seemingly at the last minute? Maybe you had forgotten. Those close to the situation noted that Golden Boy did not want to take on the entire risk associated with putting on an MMA event, especially since they had never done one before. However, those same sources noted that Golden Boy would be willing to co-promote with someone to put on an MMA event. Affliction would be the partner that they are looking for. With Golden Boy added to the mix, we cannot count out HBO, who has worked with De La Hoya’s promotion many times, has a great relationship with the aging boxer and one that will continue into the future.

How does HBO fit in? The UFC and HBO have had on and off discussions over the past 2 years about putting the UFC on HBO. The UFC noted that they were not willing to give up production rights to HBO and a deal was never finalized. It was clear that HBO wanted to get involved in MMA, but under their terms and the UFC was having none of that. This might be their opportunity to gain entry into the MMA market and maintaining control over the entire production.

Would Oscar want to get his feet wet with an MMA promotion, by combining this with some boxing? (Golden Boy knows how to promote boxing as well as anyone) Would this card draw the boxing fans and the MMA fans to make it one of the bigger cards in the history of fighting? Would Oscar himself be willing to appear on the card? He’d likely have to take a significant pay cut, but Golden boy could learn the ins and outs of promoting an MMA event and into the future execute these on their own. Oscar would still get paid, but maybe not $40 mill this time around. However, De La Hoya’s fight with Manny Pacquiao December 6th would likely interrupt those plans.

I’d suspect a fight card that had a Co-Main Event with

De La Hoya vs. Insert name of any reasonable opponent and Fedor vs. Arlovski would produce an incredible buy rate. When De La Hoya fought Ricardo Mayorga in May 2006 they drew 925,000 buys for a $46.2 mill in PPV revenue. When he fought Floyd Mayweather in May 2007 they had a record of 2.15 mill buys for PPV revenue over $120 mill. Compare that to the highly anticipated match between Mayweather and Ricky Hatton that drew only 850,000 PPV buys, it is clear that Oscar himself sells PPV’s and in huge numbers.

Afflictioncould fill the rest of the card up with young up and coming fighters, which would cut their budget significant from their last show. Or throw in a Juda or a Mosley and cut them in on some of the PPV potential.

What is next in store for Affliction? Only they know for sure. But if they want help capturing some of the fight market, they might want to give Golden Boy and HBO a call to see if collectively they can move mountains.

But maybe, just maybe that call has already come.

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