Free agent mixed martial artist Andrei Arlovski has been rumored for some time to be set to sign with the promotion Affliction for a July 19th bout with Ben Rothwell, the former IFL heavyweight champion. According to sportsillustrated.com a decision will be made on May 19th whether Arlovski joins Affliction with a 3 fight contract or the UFC matches the offer.
In a restricted free agent like situation in the NFL, the UFC has the right to match Arlovski’s contract offer from any other organization. The contract that Affliction has offered the Pitbull is reported to be in the low six figures per fight for — as said above — three fights.
The UFC needs to match this offer, it is nothing ridiculous and actually will probably come out to what the UFC was paying him for the past couple of years. Arlovski has won his past three fights and would be one of the top heavyweights in an otherwise shallow heavyweight division that the UFC currently has to offer. With guys like Sylvia and Couture gone, the UFC is left with Noguiera, Mir, Kongo, Herring, Lesnar, Vera, Werdum and a bunch of lower tier guys. Keeping Arlovski is paramount to their ability of maintaining a claim of having all the best fighters in every weight class in the sport AND fielding a competitive heavyweight division.
The UFC is by far my favorite organization and pretty much the only organization that I follow with any regularity — I consider the rest nothing but minor leagues. However, the innaugural Affliction show (Banned) is shaping up to be more than a great card. With Fedor vs. Tim Sylvia headlining things, a co-main event of Pedro Rizzo vs. Josh Barnett and featuring guys like Lindland and Babulu and potentially Arlovski vs. Rothwell, Affliction could present a major threat to the UFC if they can keep it going.
For me, more than anything, it is important to see my favorite fighters fighting regularly and whether they do that in the UFC (preferred) or in some other organization, as long as I am able to watch the fights I will be relatively happy. In the end though, guys like Arlovski belong in the UFC and hopefully the UFC will match the offer. If not, with Arlovski still young at 28, hopefully we see him in the Octagon when his 3-fight deal is up.
Dana, please lock up the Pitbull!