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Fedor Emelianenko vs. Tim Sylvia: Will Affliction Show Be a Hit or a Flop?

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Details are trickling in about the July 19 Fedor Emelianenko vs. Tim Sylvia fight, and even though it might be the best heavyweight mixed martial arts match in America this year, it's looking like it could be a flop.

For one thing, Affliction, which is promoting the fight, has moved it from Dallas to Anaheim. But California State Athletic Commission executive officer Armando Garcia tells Josh Gross of that the company still has a lot of steps to take before it could officially announce a venue or begin ticket sales. July 19 is still 10 weeks away, but these things take time, and if Affliction can't even confirm its venue yet, it needs to be able to do so soon.

Another problem is that even though the talent on the card is solid (not just Emelianenko and Sylvia but also Pedro Rizzo, Josh Barnett, Renato "Babalu" Sobral, Mike Whitehead; and possibly Matt Lindland), none of those guys has a proven track record of attracting big pay-per-view buys. Sergio Non of USA Today notes that Sylvia is the only one who has ever been on the main event of a card that got 100,000 pay-per-view buys -- and Sylvia wasn't the main reason people were buying those UFC shows.

Michael Rome of Bloody Elbow predicts that the show will get just 25,000 pay-per-view buys. That would be not just a flop but a humiliation -- to such an extent that they'd be better off canceling the show.

I want to see Emelianenko fight a known heavyweight in the United States, but I want it to happen on a card that American MMA fans will watch. The July 19 Affliction card is increasingly looking like one that American fans will ignore.

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