Someone brought to my attention in the comments section for another post that there might be a parallel between the demise of Affliction and the infamous WCW wrestling buyout. I started writing a basic response to it before I realized there was MUCH more than I originally thought. I mean, honestly, this could not have come out any more similar without some kind of cosmic irony at work. (And we all know astrology is BS; my numerologist told me so.)
Don’t believe me? I’m going to write out the post strictly about MMA, and when there is a specific correlation, the applicable term will appear after it in parenthesis for you to interchange it with. So without further adieu [I’m aware that idiom is a misnomer], here is the long and winding story of how Tom Atencio (Ted Turner) failed to save the product he loved so much.
In the world of MMA (pro-wrestling), the UFC (WWF)did everything it could to be the big dog. There was a deep-pocketed threat — on its last legs — left to deal with by the end of the decade: Affliction (WCW). Defections of former champions like Arlovski, Barnett and Sylvia (Hulk Hogan, Scott Hall and Kevin Nash) helped establish their already well known name at the expense of the competitor – with highly sought-after exclusive Fedor’s (Sting ‘s) feud with them pushing the promotion over the top. Dana White (Vince McMahon) did not like it one bit, and it was a blood feud that spawned from being contentious business rivals.
Josh Barnett (Hulk Hogan) got himself into a cataclysmic dispute with the athletic commission (bookers) – the powers that be – and higher-ups decided to completely eliminate him from the company rather than rectify the situation. When they got rid of Barnett (Hogan) at Affliction 3 (Bash at the Beach ’00), the company was essentially on life-support. It was just a matter of time for everyone after firing the guy integral to the remaining main-event fights (feuds) they were able to make.
Someone from pay per view’s mid-card was brought into the main event in Vitor Belfort (Booker T) to challenge for the belt; a quickly decided attempt to keep interest. The plan was to at least shake things up with something fresh (The New Blood) in hopes of kick-starting the quickly sinking company. It didn’t work, and things started waning and frustration was building.
The failing promotion had plans to continue running events despite the brand falling way short of the projected business. Showtime (Time Warner) saw the degraded product hemorrhaging money and hit the panic button to cut its losses and end the shows.
There was still some hope in the name though, so Scott Coker (Eric Bishoff) was going to buy the company and keep it alive with Strikeforce (Fusient Media Ventures). It didn’t happen, as the cut-throat opportunist Dana White (Vince McMahon) swooped in and picked up the whole thing so he could promote and plaster the name all over the UFC (WWF).
Now who is gonna tell me history doesn’t repeat itself, huh? For all the hating that MMA fans and fighters gave to Brock’s ‘pro-wrestling bleed-over’, it’s going to hurt learning that their precious martial art has just a hair difference from that redneck stuff. Must be like rain on your wedding day, or a free ride that you already paid. Don’t you think?