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Afflication cancels MMA title match featuring Emelianenko

July 24, 2009 |  4:25 pm

Fight Affliction announced today that it is canceling the World Mixed Martial Arts Championship that was scheduled for Aug. 1 in Anaheim.  The announcement comes less than a week after Josh Barnett, who was slated to go up against  champion Fedor Emelianenko, tested positive for steroids. 

"Finding an opponent for the No. 1-ranked MMA heavyweight champion in such a short period of time was a huge endeavor, and I'm thrilled at the amount of fighters willing to take on this challenge," Affliction Vice President Tom Atencio told The Times. "But in the end, we just didn't have enough time to promote a new fight to our standards."

The event would have marked the end of a three-fight deal between Emelianenko and Affliction.  Atencio did not say if Emelianenko would return to fight under the Affliction banner in the future.

Barnett has had previous problems with steroid use, most notably in 2002 when he was stripped of his UFC championship title after testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs. 

--Brendan Bigelow

Photo: MMA fighters Josh Barnett, left, and Fedor Emelianenko pose in New York on June 3, during a news conference to introduce the World MMA Championship that was scheduled to take place on Aug. 1, 2009 in Anaheim. Credit: EMMANUEL DUNAND / AFP / Getty Images