At the moment there’s a decent amount of finger pointing going on regarding who exactly killed Affliction. Many are of the opinion that Tom Atencio killed the company the day he put pen to paper and signed off on some of the most retarded fighter paydays in the history of the sport. Others say we should blame Josh Barnett for testing positive for steroids again. And then there’s those that blame Affliction Clothing for slitting it’s entertainment division’s throat as a sacrifice to the Zuffa gods. And the gods did see this sacrifice and they said unto Affliction, “Come thee to UFC 101 and rape our viewers eyes with thine gaudy cloths. We be tight again, dog.”
And then there’s Jonathan Snowden, who says it’s Randy Couture’s fault because he returned to the UFC:
In retrospect, Affliction shouldn’t have been shocked by Couture’s decision. It was part of a pattern of behavior, one that had characterized his entire MMA career. Couture had left the UFC twice and walked out on Team Quest as well. His decision not to risk his career on Affliction shouldn’t have been a big surprise to them, but it was. The clothing brand was already in for several million dollars, running a cost prohibitive show in an effort to get Fedor ready for what would be a huge media blitz leading up to his fight with Couture. But the pressure was getting to Couture.
Already a millionaire several times over, Couture was in the perfect position to test Zuffa’s seemingly indefensible employment contracts. If anyone could wait them out, it was Couture, a fighter with money in the bank and several ancillary sources of income. But Couture was a 45-year-old man and could hear the clock ticking on his career. In the end, he did what was best for Randy Couture, returning to the UFC for a mega-fight with Brock Lesnar. And make no mistake: bad decisions by Atencio and Barnett put Affliction at risk. But, Couture killed the company.
Some are giving Snowden grief for this article and rightly so … it’s some pretty epic spin and regardless of how you look at it, the Randy situation is simply one of the many battles Affliction botched en route to losing the overall war. Even if Randy had stuck around and fought Fedor, and even if the fight had sold enough to break even (a pretty big if considering Affliction’s 300k PPV buy budget for their first few shows), one good card isn’t gonna change the world. Momentum is momentum, but without more mega-fights in the wings what the hell is next? For all the name power Affliction paid out the nose for, we saw how deep their roster really was when Josh Barnett was pulled off the Trilogy card last week.
While Randy Couture would have been a definite help, in the long run he wouldn’t have been able to save Affliction any more than any other man. Because Affliction had already fucked itself over the second they fucked up their budget and based their projections on UFC level PPV sales rather than the sales of every other failed promotion that came before them. Oops.