Affliction takes fall

Fedor Emelianenko, above, during his time with the Pride Fighting Championship. (Photo courtesy of...

Fedor Emelianenko, above, during his time with the Pride Fighting Championship. (Photo courtesy of Pride Fighting Championship)

JOSE RODRIGUEZ, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 1:47 PM ET

Affliction fighting has fought its last fight, according to credible reports.

Both The Canadian Press and Yahoo! Sports are reporting the two-show-deep organization has struck a deal to sponsor the UFC and abandon being a fight promoter.

The move would clear the way for heavyweight Fedor Emelianenko to move to the UFC -- something president Dana White has been after for months.

The reported sponsorship deal comes after the highly anticipated Affliction Trilogy card was scrapped.

Days after heavyweight challenger Josh Barnett was pulled from the main event with WAMMA champ Emelianenko for a failed drug test, news emerged yesterday the entire card was cancelled.


BLOG: AFFLICTION TAPS OUT

EMBARRASSMENT

"Finding an opponent for the No. 1-ranked MMA heavyweight champion in such a short period of time was a huge endeavour and I'm thrilled at the amount of fighters willing to take on this challenge," said Tom Atencio, vice-president of Affliction Entertainment.

"But in the end, we just didn't have enough time to promote a new fight to our standards."

It's an embarrassment Barnett could do without.

Ten days from one of the biggest fights of his life, the 31-year-old former UFC heavyweight champ and Pride FC standout tested positive for a banned substance.

On his myspace blog, the Seattle fighter says he has no idea how he tested positive for a metabolite of the anabolic steroid Drostanalone in a test by the California State Athletic Commission.

"Many of you are wondering what's happening," wrote Barnett, who has a 24-5 record.

"When applying for my licence, the CSAC asked for me to submit a urine sample for testing prior to granting my licence as they do with everyone, I believe.

"It was not a random test. I had no reason to believe there would be any issues and went in to submit my sample at the earliest possible opportunity on June 25."

In 2002, Barnett was stripped of his UFC title for failing a post-fight drug test.

His management team is gathering information on how he could have tested positive this time.

"I am embarrassed and want for nothing more than to resolve this issue and receive a licence from the State of California as I have done many times already and for other states as well," he said.

There had been talk middleweight Vitor Belfort -- who was to fight Jorge Santiago on the card -- would move up to fight Emelianenko.

Russian Emelianenko (30-1) held a press conference in Moscow this week to say he was upset the main event, set for Anaheim, Calif., next Saturday, wouldn't happen.

He also said he was ready to take on whomever Affliction put in front of him.

"I know a lot of fans waited for this fight to happen and I am sorry for them," he said.

The UFC wants to bring in Emelianenko to fight heavyweight champ Brock Lesnar.

JOSE.RODRIGUEZ@SUNMEDIA.CA


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