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Hard-Core Mixed Martial Arts Fans Love Him, but Fedor Emelianenko Is Not a Star

Every time I point out how much money the Affliction mixed martial arts promotion is going to lose with its debut show on July 19, I get responses from passionate MMA fans telling me how I don't understand, how much great talent there is on the Affliction show, and how Fedor Emelianenko is the best MMA fighter in the world.

To which I say: I do understand. I'm well aware that an undercard featuring Andrei Arlovski, Josh Barnett and Matt Lindland is outstanding. I know all about Fedor. I got up early on New Year's Eve to live blog his last fight. You don't have to convince me that Affliction is going to give us a night of great fighters.

What you have to convince me of is that people are going to buy the show. The last time Fedor was on pay-per-view, 12,000 Americans bought it. Let's say this Affliction show is so good that they get five times that many pay-per-view buys. That's still 60,000. That represents a huge loss of money for Affliction. And now that Anderson Silva is going to be on Spike the same night, 60,000 is very optimistic.

Maybe Affliction is willing to lose a fortune on this card. Fine. Good for them. I'm all for companies pouring money into MMA. But if you're heading into a show knowing you're going to lose a fortune, why not put it on basic cable, where you'll at least expose a larger number of fans to your product? Fedor is a great fighter, and it's a shame that hardly anyone is going to see him.

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