(Related clip: Tito and Cyborg rolling together in June 2011. Skip to 2:30 to see Cyborg lift Tito like a damsel in distress. Anyway, they’re business partners now. / Props: MMA Heat)
A few heads were scratched when the UFC announced yesterday that UFC 157 would be headlined by Ronda Rousey taking on Liz Carmouche. Rousey’s star is certainly on the rise and is as good a bet as any first-time pay-per-view headliner would be, but Carmouche is relatively unknown outside of hardcore Women’s Mixed Martial Arts circles. and WMMA as a PPV entity is unproven on the whole.
It made more sense once it was revealed that several opponents, including currently suspended former 145-pound champion Cristaine “Cyborg” Santos, had turned Rousey down. The potential Rousey/Santos fight is the biggest women’s match out there, as both have held Strikeforce world titles and have a running feud with one another.
According to White, however, his former friend/client/contracted worker/sworn enemy Tito Ortiz is to blame for Rousey vs. Cyborg not taking place at UFC 157. ”That’s the fight that should be happening,” White said during yesterday’s UFC on Fox pre-event presser in Seattle. “Tito Ortiz is her manager, and he advised against it.”
Well, of course it’s Tito’s fault. It’s been forever since White was able to complain about and blame something on Tito. All must feel right in the world once more for the Baldfather.
MMA Junkie reached Ortiz for comment via text message. According to Tito, “Cyborg” will fight Ronda at 145 — her competitive weight, not Rousey’s — at any point, but would want more time to safely cut down to 135 than February and UFC 157.
“That was never said!” Ortiz reportedly texted Junkie. “‘Cyborg’ will fight her anytime, anywhere at 145. Cris said she would kill herself trying to make 135. I won’t allow it, (and) neither should the UFC or Dana. Cris wants the fight, fans want the fight, and so does the UFC.”
“I know [Cyborg] can make 135, and so does she,” Rousey told Junkie. “It just takes her a little while to realize that this is the only option she has. It took her a little bit longer because I don’t think she’s that bright. Once she does sit down and think about it, we’ll have the only fight that really makes sense.
“I think it’s really funny that when me and Miesha were supposed to fight, she was going on and on about how I didn’t deserve to fight her, and now she doesn’t want to fight me,” Rousey said. “And I also think it’s really funny that Sara was telling all these people that I was running away from her, and then she turns down a fight for the UFC title. I mean, c’mon,” Rousey continued.
MMA Junkie also reached Tate for comment, who claimed that she was never, in fact, offered a fight against Rousey. “I’ve made it pretty clear that I wanted to take some time off since my last fight, and that was back in August, so maybe because of that, the opportunity wasn’t presented to me. But it was never offered to me,” she said.
“The only thing that I can say is when I was down in Brazil, (UFC matchmaker) Sean (Shelby) asked if I might be interested in fighting in February. There was never any mention of an opponent or it being in the UFC. So I said, ‘I still want to take a little more time off and find myself as a fighter and a person. It was never made clear to me at all that it would be such a huge opportunity, that it could be against Ronda or in the UFC. At that point, they hadn’t even announced that women were coming to the UFC. This was back in early October when the UFC was down in Brazil.”
There’s no way of telling for sure where, exactly, the truth sits on this topic, between all this he/she said stuff. We cannot, however, even imagine a world where White would present a story in a particularly subjective way and without full context given, especially ones involving Tito Ortiz or fighters turning down fights.
Update: Now Sara McMann’s manager Monte Cox is also denying that they were offered a fight against Ronda Rousey.