July 22, 2009
What a mess. Affliction was all ready to put on a huge card, probably its last, and now its main event may be up in smoke. Sherdog is reporting that Josh Barnett tested positive in a prefight test and will not be licensed by California State Athletic Commission. Barnett was set to battle Fedor Emelianenko in Anaheim on August 1.
Some of the names being floated as replacements 10 days from the fight are ridiculous - middleweight Vitor Belfort and neophite heavyweight Bobby Lashley. Other options include Paul Buentello, who is already on the card, slated to fight Gilbert Yvel. Fabricio Werdum is also now available, now that his fight against Alistair Overeem has been dumped.
The obvious choice is sitting right in front of Atencio, but the risk of Fedor losing is too high. What about 220-pound Gegard Mousasi. It wouldn't sell pay-per-views with the casual fan - at this point no replacement will - but it's the best matchup available. Mousasi is scheduled on the card for a light heavyweight fight against Renato "Babalu" Sobral.
Sherdog does a nice job but let's hope the Barnett story is accurate (UPDATE - Good job Sherdog!). After yesterday's "Kimo's dead" nonsense, which made it onto sites like the N.Y. Daily News, Orange County Register, TMZ, Huffington Post, The Sun and Las Vegas Sun, who knows what to believe anymore.
Without Barnett, is it worth it for Affliction to move forward with this card? Maybe it's time to swallow pride and call the big boys, Strikeforce or the UFC, and see what can be done to get out from under this mountain of losses.
Affliction has a teleconference scheduled today for 3:30 p.m. ET.
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