Fedor And Barnett Set Friendship Aside

June 4, 2009

Josh Barnett at Pride 30At a press conference in New York on Wednesday, Affliction Entertainment officially announced its third event, “Trilogy.” The main event features a showdown between No. 1 ranked heavyweight Fedor Emelianenko and No. 2 ranked Josh Barnett, a bout that has been on a crash course since the birth of Affliction’s mixed martial arts efforts in mid-2008.

“This is a fight a lot of people were expecting for a long time – press and fans, and even fighters,” commented Barnett. “Make no bones about it; this is going to be a very serious endeavor. I think because of the nature of this bout between the two of us it heightens our
status as professionals.

“Just because we’re friends doesn’t take away from us being fighters. Because of our status, mutual respect and visions in mixed martial
arts, this fight needs to live-up to expectations greater than any other heavyweight championship. I’ll do my part to make it historical.”

Although their close friendship is well noted, Fedor echoed Barnett’s sentiments about fighting a friend.

“Everyday I fight with my friend in training. It’s a sport. We’re athletes in the ring to compete. I’m confident our friendship (Barnett) will continue after the fight,” said the Russian superstar.

In fact, Barnett believes that their friendship makes it even more important for them to put forth their maximum. “Being a good friend, I should bring my best into the ring, out of respect (for Fedor). We don’t need personal grudges to fight. We want to be the best and show our best.”

Questions of Affliction’s staying power in the mixed martial arts industry have been widespread, likely because of the delay between events, but Affliction Entertainment’s vice president, Tom Atencio, says the company is doing well and is here to stay. A main event between the two top-ranked heavyweights in the world doesn’t hurt his argument.

“We are back and stronger than ever. This card is stacked from top to bottom,” he commented. “I’m up here with ‘The Baddest Man in the World,’ Fedor, and the No. 1 contender, Josh. I believe this will be the Fight of the Century.”

Affliction on Thursday also confirmed several other bouts for the fight card, which will once again take place at the Honda Center in
Anaheim, Calif.; the same local as its first two events.

The promotion confirmed the bout reported on MMAWeekly.com earlier this week, Strikeforce light heavyweight champion Renato
“Babalu” Sobral facing former Dream middleweight champion Gegard Mousasi.

Other bouts announced include former UFC heavyweight champion Tim Sylvia fighting Paul Buentello, and another heavyweight bout
pitting former IFL titleholder Ben Rothwell against undefeated Chase Gormley. Also, Jay Hieron will fight Paul Daley, Chris Horodecki battles Dan Lauzon, and Deividas Taurosevicius goes head-to-head with Brett Cooper.

While Affliction did confirm the participation of Vitor Belfort, they fell short of announcing his opponent, who is believed to be American
Top Team’s Jorge Santiago.

“This is going to be another amazing fight show. The last one was even greater than the first,” said Donald Trump, who, along with Oscar De La Hoya’s Golden Boy Promotions, is a partner in promoting Affliction events.

“We’re excited to be showing an undercard that’s good enough to be on pay-per-view,” commented Mark Cuban, chairman of HDNet, the network that will be televising the undercard. The main card bouts will air live on Showtime PPV.