Yesterday, Scott Coker confirmed that Strikeforce’s upcoming Nashville event would stay with its original April 17th date, instead of switching to April 24th in order to dodge a potential UFC counter-programming show. Well, they asked for it. Fighters Only passes along this major announcement:
will be fighting Rich Franklin
in his next bout and not rival TUF 11
coach Tito Ortiz
, Fighters Only has heard from a reliable source. The switch was initially reported to us just under two weeks ago but was only a rumour at that time.
However, the rumour hit message boards late last night and an industry source confirmed that Liddell will indeed be facing former middleweight champion Rich Franklin. The fight is to headline an April 17th Fight Night event which will counter Strikeforce’s show on the same date…
The Tennessee State Athletic Commission has not yet received an application from the UFC to stage an event in Nashville but the organisation has until Thursday to do so…
Ortiz is out of the fight but not because of injury; he is healthy and is not suffering back problems as some rumours claim. The reason for his withdrawal is known to Fighters Only is something that may significantly impact his future as a fighter, but we cannot report the details at this point.
We’ve picked up hints of this mysterious Tito situation from his recent Twitter updates, but your guess is as good as ours. At this point, no other matches for the UFC’s 4/17 card have reported, but the main event could be enough to put a dent into Strikeforce’s audience. So what do you think? Is Liddell vs. Franklin a compelling matchup? Is Chuck going to get knocked out for the third time in a row? And is the UFC’s aggressive competition with Strikeforce good for the sport — or even good for the UFC?
Update: MMA Junkie says that Liddell vs. Franklin is being penciled in for UFC 115 (June 12th, Vancouver), and that the UFC’s Nashville counter-programming show might not happen at all. And check this out:
MMAjunkie.com has learned from additional sources that Ortiz was not able to complete the filming of "The Ultimate Fighter 11," though the reasoning behind his absence wasn’t immediately known. Those same sources suggested that Franklin was possibly brought in as a replacement coach to finish out the season’s filming, and "Ace" now meets Liddell as an opposing "TUF" coach.