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A Pair of Severed Ties

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UFC Breaks With Setanta While Affliction Leaves Arlovski Behind

While the biggest MMA company in the world leaves behind a troubled sports network, the second-biggest MMA company leaves behind an MMA star that has fallen on tough times.

UFC recently severed ties with Setanta Sports, the international sports broadcaster that had shown live UFC events for over a year, starting at UFC 80 “Rapid Fire”. After a lack of funds led to many reports that a complete and total breakdown was “inevitable”, fight fans and even the UFC was left in the dark on whether or not the recent UFC 99 “The Comeback” Pay-Per-View would even air on the station.

This proved to be one chance too many for the globalization-oriented UFC, as Marshall Zelaznik, president of the UFC’s UK division, recently stated:

“It was with great regret that we ended the relationship with Setanta. Over the last two years, Setanta has helped the UFC become the biggest indoor sporting event in the British Isles. They were the right partner for us at the right time as we continued to build the sport of mixed martial arts and our brand. Throughout the last few weeks we have been kept informed of the situation at Setanta. Therefore, we are in a position to ensure our UK and Eire fans will not miss any of this summer’s huge UFC events — commencing with UFC 100 in July. We will be announcing the new home of UFC shortly but assure our fans they won’t miss any of the upcoming super-fights.”

And while the struggling Setanta loses one of its biggest juggernauts, Affliction recently chose to lose one of its biggest stars.

“Fighter’s Only” was the first to report that popular MMA star Andre “The Pitbull” Arlovski will no longer be fighting for Affliction Entertainment. Affliction Vice President Tom Atencio confirmed that he will not offer Arlovski a new contract now that his current one has expired.

Arlovski’s fortunes have taken a downturn lately…in the philosophical sense, at least. In terms of actual “fortunes”, Arlovski was one of Affliction’s biggest earners, earning over two million dollars for two fights: a win against former IFL star “Big” Ben Rothwell, and a WAMMA Heavyweight Championship loss to Fedor Emelianenko. Arlovski’s last outing was a stunning 22-second loss to Bret “The Grim” Rogers on June 6 at a recent Strikeforce event.

Back-to-back losses can damage any fighter’s career, and with Affliction’s interest in him over, Arlovski has certainly seen better days. While he most likely won’t be making the kind of money Affliction paid him, his time as a UFC Heavyweight Champion and his notoriety as an MMA star in general is sure to help Arlovski get back on his feet…so long as he is able to snap the losing streak he is currently on.


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