As the aptly titled third event for the t-shirt company turned MMA organization, Affliction: Trilogy, looms very close with a pretty solid card, one has to think...is there anything left after the Trilogy is over? Do they have any sequels left to end the story or will this be their fitting end?
The reason I ask this is because undeniably their biggest star is Fedor Emelianenko. That's not even a question. Couple that with the fact that thus far, in my opinion, Affliction has done little to build around any other fighter in their 'organization' and have basically banked on Fedor's name to sell the pay-per-views. With that said, the superfight the MMA world has been waiting to see for years finally will happen inside their ring on August 1st between aforementioned WAMMA Heavyweight Champion, Fedor Emelianenko, and consensus number two heavyweight in the world, Josh Barnett. After the dust clears on this one, if Fedor successfully defends the belt and his pound for pound status...who's left? Would a non-Fedor headlined Affliction show even be plausible? I mean, barring a huge signing from a current UFC fighter, there only other semi-big star is Vitor Belfort, and as we've heard the UFC is eyeing him and await the results of his Affliction bout with Jorge Santiago. Other than him, former UFC star Renato 'Babalu' Sobral would likely be another top name in their fold, but in reality a PPV headlined by him would have to have aside it either Chuck Liddell, Randy Couture, Quinton 'Rampage' Jackson, Forrest Griffin, or Anderson Silva's name to even think about having a decent buyrate. Thus, with Barnett beaten, Andrei Arlovski unwelcome, and Tim Sylvia reduced to a joke...Fedor's opposition has run out and they would need some sort of miracle marketing to garner any kind of buzz from a Fedor and winner of Gilbert Yvel/Paul Buentello. That leaves the scenario of a Josh Barnett victory. It would undoubtedly send shockwaves throughout the MMA world should the 'Baby Faced Assassin' do what many have tried and defeat Fedor Emelianenko. The only problem is the same one that looms with a Fedor win. Who is left for him to face? Should the fight be a close decision...they can bank on a rematch, but even then they'll have to do great numbers this time around to even get consideration for another show. Should Barnett just wipe the mat with Fedor...there's still no believable match ups for him. He already dominated Gilbert Yvel and a Paul Buentello fight isn't exactly something I'd pay $40+ for. If Affliction somehow received the services of Alistair Overeem, a bout between him and Barnett or Fedor would be somewhat intriguing, but that's if he gets by Fabricio Werdum in his Strikeforce heavyweight title defense.
So will August 1st be the swan song for Affliction? I think so as they've pretty much milked all the match ups for the talent they have under contract. Have they done a good job? In my opinion they could have done a bit more to showcase or highlight some of the others under their banner such as Antonio Rogerio Nogueira, as he has some name recognition thanks to his twin brother being in UFC and of course from PRIDE. Speaking of PRIDE, their attempts to garner some of their fans with the acquisition of Takanori Gomi is probably a year too late as his stock has dropped considerably and I'm pretty sure he's only getting a main card slot thanks to his name value and not his latest performances. So what do you guys think, does Affliction have anything left in the gas tank or on August 2nd as the smoke clears, will they be completely on 'E'?