Cagewriter - Mixed Martial Arts

Who wouldn't like to put a rear-naked choke on Tony Stewart or armbar Kurt Busch? We can all fantasize but in reality the closest MMA will get to NASCAR happens this weekend when Affliction teams up with Michael Waltrip Racing during the Pepsi 500 at the Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif.

Affliction is turning Mike Skinner's #00 Toyota into the "Day of Reckoning" car. The sponsorship provides plenty of face time for Affliction. The race is scheduled to air live on ABC at 8p ET on Sunday night. Affliction is promoting its Oct. 11 pay-per-view event in Las Vegas at the Thomas & Mack Center.

The assumption is that this must have cost Affliction an outrageous amount of money. Afterall, Aflac is paying roughly $26 million next year to sponsor Carl Edwards #99 car. But signs now point to the possibility that NASCAR may be in a slight discount mode when it comes to sponsorship. SI.com reported last week that NASCAR is struggling for sponsor dollars. There are only 28 fully sponsored teams for 2009. That falls well short of the 43 eligible spots to run on the Sprint Series.

SI says that Dodge, Burger King, Tide, Domino's Pizza, AAA, AT&T and Alltel have left or will be leaving NASCAR in the near future. Plus, teams like the #40 Chip Ganassi car just shut down and laid off 70 employees because of financial concerns. GM is pulling out of sponsorship at the Bristol and New Hampshire speedways.

So chances are Affliction is getting a lot of bang for its buck. CNBC's Jim Cramer recently told Jim Hunter, a NASCAR vice president, that companies should be running to NASCAR and he'd be critical of any company's balance sheet if they were leaving the sport.

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