Former UFC heavyweight champion Andrei Arlovski (13-5) will likely sign with Affliction’s upstart MMA promotion as soon as May 19th, according to SI.com.
Arlovski, who fulfilled his UFC contract with a TKO victory over Jake O’Brien at UFC 82 in March, has had his name attached to the fight card for the July 19th event for the better part of a month. He is expected to face off with IFL heavyweight standout Ben Rothwell, whose opponent for the event has not yet been announced.
The UFC retained the exclusive right to negotiate a new contract with “The Pitbull” until May 1st but with that date now passed Affliction appears to have moved in and offered Arlovski a contract the UFC is unwilling to match.
From the report:
May 19 is the day when Andrei Arlovski could sign with Affliction, SI.com has learned. That is, assuming the UFC declines to match what is believed to be a deal that pays the former UFC champion in the low-to-mid six figures for the first of three non-exclusive bouts.
A representative from Arlovski’s camp explained there was “nothing to report,” though continued on to say negotiations with the UFC were ongoing.
UFC President Dana White recently told Yahoo! Sports that, while he hoped to retain Arlovski, there was doubt as to whether that would actually happen.
Should Arlovski and Affliction complete their deal, the Belarusian is expected to appear at next Tuesday’s press conference at the in Century City, Calif., to announce a fight against former International Fight League heavyweight champion Ben Rothwell.
SI.com is also reporting that Affliction declined to comment on rumors of the July 19th event’s undercard airing on Fox Sports Net, though FSN executive George Greenburg was in attendance at a recent Affliction press conference.
For the latest Affliction rumors check out the MMAFrenzy.com rumors section.