Atencio Outtakes

By Loretta Hunt May 12, 2009
When you conduct an interview, you always stand the chance of running over. I’m notorious for my lengthy interviews, but that’s where the trusty blog comes in. Here are some of my outtakes with from my tête-à-tête with Affliction VP Tom Atencio, who recently threw his hat into the ring as a fighter. Is it possible to pull off one of the most anticipated events this year and sneak in a fight yourself? Atencio is certainly going to try.

On fighting and promoting at the same time: What if Dana White suddenly decided he was going to be a fighter. Do you think people would question him spending his time on those pursuits when he’s supposed to be promoting?
Tom Atencio: Yeah, absolutely, and I think they’re going to be people that support me and say, ‘Good job, Tom. It’s awesome that you’re fighting. Now you can see exactly what these fighters go through.’ Well, yeah, I do. That’s why I’ve tried to be fair to these guys because I have fought before. No matter what you do, you’re always going to have both sides. There’s going to be fighters that are selfish and greedy. There’s going to be fighters that are awesome and work well with you, but [fighting] puts me in a position where I can empathize, at worst, with the guys that are willing to work with me and bend a little. Do you need that? Do you need to be a fighter to empathize with the fighters?
Atencio: If you’re going to be good at something, you need to understand every single aspect. It only benefits me, which I think benefits the company. With that same train of thought, do you think Dana White would be a better promoter if he fought?
Atencio: I think he might. I think he might understand what these fighters feel like. You already fought once [Atencio fought for Total Combat in January 2005]. Was that not enough to quench this thirst you have to experience what the fighters do?
Atencio: Absolutely not. That was the crossroads. I either chose to do what I did with Affliction or continue fighting and I chose what I chose. Now I want to get it out of my system.

On Affliction’s recent pow-wow with M-1 Global and Dream in Japan: You recently took a trip to Japan and met with your partners, M-1 Global, as well as representatives from FEG’s Dream organization. What was the outcome of these meetings?
Atencio: We went to St. Petersburg first and met with M-1 Global, who was Vadim [Finkelchtein, M-1’s CEO], then to Moscow. We had a press conference and an Affliction store opening in Moscow. In Japan, we did meet with some people from Dream, and that was to try and work with M-1 Global, who is our partner, in the global fights through Japan and other countries. It was just a meeting to sit down and talk to them. They [M-1 Global and Dream] already have a relationship, so as partners, they wanted us there. We went there for a purpose, and that’s to make relationships and build bridges and work with people there and not think we can go to another country and put events on without anybody’s help. So, let’s squash or propel this rumor that the next Affliction event might be held in Japan.
Tom Atencio: No. Easy enough. So, when you went out there, that wasn’t ever the goal –- to explore holding your next event there?
Atencio: At this point, no. It’s up to them [Dream]. They own that market, and from my experience, I don’t think we or anyone else could go out there and just put a show on, especially in Japan and Korea. The culture’s completely different and you need to respect that.

On public perception: Did you read the article that said some fight managers are speculating that the next event will be Affliction’s final show?
Atencio: No. As much as its hard not to, I don’t read the Internet and all that. When it’s about you or you’re show, it’s disheartening sometimes. But I can tell you it’s not [the last show]. They’ve been saying that since our first show. Whether it’s the UFC or kids on the Internet making it up, that’s all that it is. It’s just people making up lies or rumors, which is good for us, because in the long run, it keeps our name out there. Do you think a fight promoter that decides to fight himself stands to lose some of his credibility as a businessman?
Atencio: I don’t see how. If you can accomplish more stuff, than that’s just it, it’s just another something. Hopefully, I don’t, but no matter what you do, you’re taking a chance though. Isn’t it better to take a chance and know whether its defeat or a win? Isn’t it better to know than to just sit back and go, “I wish I had done that. Wow I wish I had tried.” At least I tried.

Click here to read more of Atencio’s interview with
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