Rovell Talks Affliction With Donald Trump Jr.

January 23, 2009

CNBC’s Darren Rovell sat down with Donald Trump Jr to talk about his family’s involvement with the Affliction group. You can check out video here.

Darren: Some people say that mixed martial arts is not a business. That it’s UFC and everything else. Maybe like wrestling and WWE and everything else. Dana White, the president of the UFC, said this in today’s USA Today about Affliction, “This show will be the end of it. If not, these guys are willing to lose a lot more money than I ever realized.” What’s your reaction to that, especially given the fact that we’ve had two mixed martial arts organizations in the IFL and Elite XC recently go down?

Trump Jr.: I have two responses to that. Dana White sounds like a mini-version of someone I know. That’s nonsense. But that’s what he does. He spouts off and says all sorts of things. Especially given their position with their bonds and everything that has come due, I don’t know if they’re in any real position to talk about these kinds of things. Going to what I said earlier, rather than putting on 20 shows, of which very few people are going to tune into because there’s just not that many people in the world, you can put on a great show 20 times a year. They flood it, do the old quote make it up in volume. We’re trying to put on a great card. We have the best fighter in the world and we’re going to put on a great show.

The WWE comparison is apt. If you are looking to get into the biz, you are looking to lose a lot of money for a long period of time, and even then you are still going to be a distant second. In the wrestling example, TNA Wrestling has had to go through a tremendous amount of capital to attain a modicum of visibility in the sports entertainment field. Affliction is looking at a much similar route, the question is will they abandon the ship after two shows? In the case of TNA, they had a huge financial backstop in Panda Energy to fund their foray into wrestling. Affliction has a successful but relatively minor (in the grand scheme of things) apparel company, while Affliction’s partners have dubious financial stakes in the venture. Affliction has partners in Golden Boy and Trump, but it is questionable if there are any long term commitments by those two parties to the fight promotion. They look good at press conferences and doing hype pieces for television, but there is a vast workload that goes into building a fight promotion, and I doubt those two entities are around for that long, hard slog.

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