Andrei Arlovski was one of the few fighters in history to leave the UFC on an upswing. Arlovski left the world’s premiere MMA organization in 2008 on a three-fight win streak, having defeated Marcio Cruz, Fabricio Werdum, and Jake O’Brien in consecutive heavyweight bouts.
In July 2008, he made his debut with Affliction and leveled Ben Rothwell in the third round with devastating punches remeniscent of the Arlovski who held the UFC Heavyweight Title in years past. The Belarusian appeared reinvigorated and his popularity was booming.
Just three months later, in Oct. 2008, Affliction loaned Arlovski to Elite XC. Once again “The Pit Bull” emerged victorious, becoming the first man to ever stop “Big Country” Roy Nelson, and set himself up to face the world’s consensus number one heavyweight, Fedor Emelianenko.
In Jan. 2009, it was Fedor vs. Arlovski, the main event at “Affliction: Day of Reckoning,” in one of the most anticipated heavyweight bouts ever. Unfortunately for Arlovski, all the momentum he had gained from knocking out four of his last five opponents suddenly hit a brick wall known as the right hand of “The Last Emperor.” Emelianenko left him in an unconcious crumpled heap just three minutes into round one.
Five months later, in the final fight of his Affliction three-fight contract, in a co-promoted bout with Strikeforce on June 6, Arlovski was pitted against the much less-experienced, yet undefeated Brett Rogers. Although bookmakers had Arlovski as the heavy favorite, Rogers showed the bookies where they could stick their odds by knocking out “The Pit Bull” in just eleven seconds flat.
Now, fifteen months after leaving the UFC, and having fought the biggest names in the world, Andrei Arlovski finds himself in the precarious position of being without a home. Affliction has decided not to renew his contract.
Vice President of Affliction Entertainment Tom Atencio stated to Fighters Only Magazine UK, ”His contract has expired and right now we have so many fighters under contract that we are just concentrating on working with them.” When asked if Affliction would be talking to Arlovski about a new contract Atencio stated, ”No, we are not looking at that right now.”
So where does the former UFC Heavyweight Champion go? Japan? Will he be relegated to one of the numerous regional MMA promotions around the country? There are only a few organizations in the world that can afford Arlovski’s price tag at this point. The UFC surely does not want him back now.
Maybe this would be a good time for Arlovski to pursue the boxing career he has been flirting with for the past year or two. Tim Sylvia probably knows someone “The Pit Bull” could face in his debut.
Atencio spoke about their plans for Sylvia, who had been scheduled to fight at the upcoming “Affliction: Trilogy” event, but was pulled off the card after he decided to test the waters against professional boxer and Olympic gold medalist Ray Mercer.
Atencio stated, ”Right now we just didn’t want to fight him because of the knockout [loss to Mercer]. But that doesn’t mean we aren’t going to fight him in the future.” At least it appears Sylvia will not be let go just yet. However, if big Tim loses another one, his days in the organization could be numbered as well.
By: Jack Bratcher