Trump Talks Affliction Partnership

By Joe Hall and Matthew Kaplowitz Jun 5, 2008
NEW YORK -- Donald Trump plans to bring money and attention to Affliction's MMA events, the real estate mogul said Thursday at a news conference held to announce his partnership with the clothing company turned promoter.

"I've got a lot of money," Trump told a room filled with journalists on the 25th floor of Trump Tower. "That helps, right? But also and perhaps more importantly, I seem to get a lot of attention. For instance, if I wasn't here today, you might have maybe one writer. And now the place is packed."

Trump said he had been discussing a partnership with Affliction for six months.

"It's really something that I'm doing because I enjoy doing it," he said. "If we make money, that's great. I think we will. I think it will be successful. What I do is usually successful."

As evidence Trump cited his experience hosting some of Mike Tyson's biggest fights as well as his success with the WWE's Vince McMahon. He also put his partnership with Affliction in perspective.

"It's financial, but it's not a very big deal for me," he said. "When you build a billion-dollar building like I'm doing in Dubai and lots of other places, that's a much bigger financial commitment."

Twice Trump said Affliction has the best fighters in MMA. It was no accident that a phone call interrupted the conference to back up that claim.

Former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski (Pictures) was on the line via speakerphone.

"Hello, Andrei," Trump said. "You think this was a setup? This has got to be the worst setup I've ever seen."

The room broke into laughter.

"We're having a very successful press conference," Trump told Arlovski. "A lot of people showed up. Who knows what they're going to write? Who the hell cares? It ultimately doesn't matter as long as they write."

Arlovski thanked Trump and confirmed his fight with Ben Rothwell (Pictures) for Affliction's July 19 debut event in Anaheim, Calif.

Trump also threw Tito Ortiz (Pictures)'s name into the mix after referencing the ratings success of "The Apprentice" on NBC, a show on which Ortiz appeared.

"We'll probably be asking Tito to come along also," Trump said. "We have many, many great fighters, but we'll be asking Tito to come along."

Ortiz, a former UFC light heavyweight champion, lost a decision to Lyoto Machida (Pictures) on May 24 in what is believed to be his last fight in the UFC. His ongoing feud with UFC President Dana White has received constant attention.

Trump would not criticize White when given the opportunity Thursday.

"I have great respect for Dana White," he said. "Some of the people in the room may not like him. I like him and I think he's done a very good job."

At the same time, Trump said the addition of another powerful promoter is a positive move for the sport.

"If there's only one organization," he said, "you can pay the fighters five dollars and they'll be happy to fight."

Affliction Vice President Tom Atencio (Pictures) stood beside Trump while he spoke. The juxtaposition made for a stark contrast: Trump in a suit and Atencio in designer jeans with a chain hanging down his leg.

An odd partnership perhaps but one that has plans for MMA nonetheless.

"I think there are things we can do to make this very, very exciting," Trump said. "And my fights have always been very exciting, even when I'm fighting with businesspeople."
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