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White comments on Ortiz

Steve Sievert from the Houston Chronicle wrote a pretty good article on Tito Ortiz and his future in the UFC. Towards the end of the article, UFC president Dana White comments on Ortiz. It’s clearly the most favorable thing he’s said about the former light heavyweight champion in quite some time and he also indicates that the company is interested in re-signing Ortiz. Ortiz will have one fight left on his current contract following his fight against Rashad Evans.

“Do I need Tito Ortiz to continue to grow my business? No,” said White. “Tito’s always an interesting character, but Tito’s a good fighter, and he deserves to be in the UFC. I can see Tito Ortiz finishing his career in the UFC. We’re always going to butt heads, but as long as he’s one of the top fighters in the world, he’ll stay in the UFC.”

After Ortiz’s fight with Evans it will be interesting to see how long it takes for the UFC to schedule Ortiz’s fight. My guess is that they will put if off as long as possible to retain exclusive re-negotiation rights for an extended duration.

Based on White’s comments, my opinion as to whether Ortiz will re-sign with the UFC has changed. I was initially doubtful but now I would say the chances are 50/50. White sounds as though he’s willing to put his differences aside and when I interviewed Ortiz, I really tried to play up the fact that he’ll have other options when it comes to a new deal. He didn’t bite and said his preference was to keep fighting for the UFC in spite of his differences with White. I realize he tossed out the names of K-1 and Bodog during an interview with Pro but that may have been in response to White’s continued onslaught of negative comments.

Ultimately though, it will come down to money and what Ortiz feels he’s worth and what the UFC feels he’s worth. If it’s close, they’ll probably reach a new deal. If it’s not close, Ortiz will wait for his contract to expire and field offers from other promotions.

Ortiz still has a lot of drawing power but it will diminish if he doesn’t fight well in his last two UFC fights. Promotions like Bodog and EliteXC still might be willing to pay him on his past reputation as they look to one up the UFC somehow. You’d think EliteXC would have a lot of interest because if they’ve signed Sokoudjou, then they will need to bolster their light heavyweight division. They really don’t have many guys who could step in and pose much of a challenge.

  • says:

    Definitely some of the more positive things White has said recently. And I really do feel that Ortiz will be back in the UFC after this contract is over. Dana’s comment about him not needing him is wrong though. He’s a big draw to people(love or hate him, they watch either way) otherwise the UFC wouldn’t be promoting their next ppv with him as the key figure in his fight with Rashad. There is two ttile fights on it, and the first thing they mention when they air their promo is that Ortiz is fighting evans.

  • says:

    Ortiz is very polarizing and that is what makes him popular and important to UFC events. Look at the upcoming 73 show. There are a TON of good fights on the card yet the Ortiz Evans fight appears to be the most important or interesting to casual UFC fans (at least from my take on the street and on more casual fight forums).
    This to me suggests that Ortiz still has a ton of drawing power and it’s in there best interest to keep him. I guess it all depends on how he fares against Evans. I think his stock goes down immensely if he loses. Not that Evans isn’t a dangerous dude, just that it may expose that the MMA world has passed Ortiz by.


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