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Report: Liddell vs. Franklin to Counter-Program Strikeforce, Ortiz Out Under Mysterious Circumstances [UPDATED]

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:

Chuck Liddell 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: 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.

Cagepotato Comments

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Mir please break Brocks neck- March 16, 2010 at 4:00 pm
Listen. Tito needs to GO AWAY. He is NOT ENTERTAINING WHATSOEVER. WHY WHY WHY would the UFC think it would be even remotely entertaining to watch him fight Chuck AGAIN????? Thats like booking a Hughes/GSP fight for a fourth time. WHY? Who would seriously want to PAY to see that......or even watch it for free? Tito may have a following.....but seriously.....people who 'follow' Tito follow who else? Alessio Sakara? Elvis Sinosic? Two other guys who have been given countless invites BACK to the UFC ....only to get destroyed again and again. Tito has not one a decisive victory SINCE Sinosic in 2001!!!!!!!! Zombie Strippers 2 is calling your name Tito! Take that gig and leave the real fans to the REAL fighters....and fighters that WIN. Frank Mir for President!
ArmFarmer- March 14, 2010 at 12:26 pm
I just looked at the pic again because of the belt comment.. but instead peanutbutter's sassy comment came to mind and i just burst out laughing. Dude does look sassy in that pic.
KarmaAteMyCat- March 14, 2010 at 6:55 am
Oh my god.. It's a Cagepotato. So my question is why mention Rich was a champion if your gonna only put one of chuck with the belt? Are we being bias on who we favor Ben? I mean come on now! Do you hold a deep hatred for Math teachers who do MMA? is it those black circles under his eyes you picture ever time you see him? I bet it is! I bet ben had a man crush on Rich Franklin and when he lost to Anderson Silva he was just [Heart] broken. It's ok Ben we're here for you! Try and put belts in both pictures if they've both been champions K THANKS!
ghostboner- March 13, 2010 at 10:05 pm
Whoa, hold it right fucking there! Listen, garanimals might not be relevant, but they do not deserve to be slurred in the same sentence as that goatse-needing-cranium experiment gone wrong. And Samuel hagar makes some dam fine tequila to compensate for his music. Say whatever you want about New Coke. Seoul Bro, good shit.
Seoul Brother- March 13, 2010 at 9:13 pm
@Yeti Stomp: I gotta disagree with you slightly about Tito. With all the shit that Tito has been spewing forth for the duration of his career, it's about fucking time that he reaps what he sows. Just because Tito is about as relevant as New Coke, Sammy Hagar, and Garanimals doesn't mean that I won't click on a link to a news story with a "Tito Ortiz Making Steady Recovery After Being Goatsed & Fisted with 4oz Gloves - Still A Retarded Melon-Head" headline.

Anything short of that or a "Tito/Jenna Suicide Pact Witnessed by Midgets" story won't get a glimmer of interest from me.
Yeti Stomp- March 13, 2010 at 8:30 pm
Here's what - drop Tito and his splash-queen wife into a lava pit. The globe has had enough of those two. Final notice served on those two.

Liddell against Franklin is a career ender for ol' Chucky-boy. He's gotta know that. Maybe DW knows it too, and is trying to ease him out. Who knows.

Randy - guy's a legend. A pioneer. Respected. Which is why his career as a fighter needs to end right goddamn now before he turns into a bad joke. It's a crime and a shame to see him keep carrying on. You gotta know when it's over, baby, and it's been over for a while.

Time for Randy C. to take up the role he played in the movie Red Belt. For those of you who haven't seen it, rent it, download it, do what you gotta do, just get in into you.

And P.S.,
Nobody gives a good God Damn about Tito or his wife. He's a modern day leper, just like Koppenhaver. I never want to hear any news about this douchebag again. Not even his death. Nothing, ever. Jenna neither. She's jsut gonna end up with Koppenhaver after Tito gets arrested for gay child porn anyway.
JamesToneyismyhero- March 13, 2010 at 6:48 pm
nevermind, i found it
JamesToneyismyhero- March 13, 2010 at 6:36 pm
Anybody know where i can get the stream for pacman/clottey?
Mescan_Judo- March 13, 2010 at 4:23 pm
I'm still watching strikeforce and recording the ufc. Strikeforce fight card is stacked.
ArmFarmer- March 13, 2010 at 4:12 pm
That's pretty mean of the ufc to set Chuck up for another brain damaging KO. You'd think with how worried Dana keeps saying he is for chucks safety they'd have put him agiainst a wrestler or jiu jitsu guy. Give him a chance to get a win or 2. His reaction time is too slow and his striking technique was never really elite to begin with I don't think, Rich is too technical and fast. Rich ko within 2.
BryanF- March 13, 2010 at 3:48 pm
^^He's right, check BloodyElbow dot com. It's Couture VS Franklin...and tito's out because his head is pregnant with syphilis
Wrye Bash- March 13, 2010 at 3:14 pm
@Rex13 nice one. ;)
h.o.n.k.y.k.o.n.g- March 13, 2010 at 2:52 pm
Dana's twitter says that Tito is fine, that he and Tito are cool, and that they're doing Franklin vs Couture.

Check it out. No lie!
ghostboner- March 13, 2010 at 2:38 pm
Oh geez. Two seasons in a row TUF has hyped the shit out of a fight only to have fight not happen. Weren't they still hyping the Chuck-Tito fight fairly recently, as in after the filming had concluded and they already knew Tito was not going to fight? Lame.

@robthom - Agreed. Strikeforce>Pride.

@Rex13 - "Riddle me this..." nice. At first I thought you were going to mock vyapaar's spelling of Liddel (Liddle), and then it turned into a Tito STD joke! 2 for the price of one!
Joedirt- March 13, 2010 at 2:02 pm
Anyone who has ever read my posts knows I think more competition for the UFC will evolve, improve and help the sport grow. So instead I offer an alternative. As saturated as boxing is with all the divisions and organizations they have one thing right. Fighters are not necessarily signature to just one organization. The MMA community should form a fighters association. Organizations can still book you for certain terms but maybe take away the "we can dump you but you can't dump us" clause and some of the ownership rights to every fighter that dana has. Then allow promotion companies to be developed but must be approved by the association. Come up with universal rules and divisions and keep just one title etc. Then any decent organization can put together a competitive show, which would ultimately put more money in the fighters pockets. (not too mention allow them sponsorship money that doesn't require the UFC taking $100grand) This could bring in a ranking system, and produce fair EARNED title shots etc. It's not perfect but it's a start...
ReX13- March 13, 2010 at 1:18 pm
I don't care how much cash you put up, i am NOT fighting Tito under my old porn name.
Wrye Bash- March 13, 2010 at 1:10 pm
I wanna see Tito vs. T-Rex.
fiveforfive- March 13, 2010 at 1:05 pm
A herd of herpes crawled into his skull through that crack.
NateGetsIrate- March 13, 2010 at 12:53 pm
I love that this happened. Loving it! Just goes to show what a dumb bitch jenna is for having her little twitter battle with liddell. I love it when a big mouth can't back shit up and even better when his trashpile of a wife tries to get him into a fight that he actually wants no part of. Who's laughing at the top of their lungs now you stupid cunt!? Hahahahah!!!
robthom- March 13, 2010 at 12:49 pm
"But PRIDE was the biggest, brightest, most balls-tightenly awesome stage for MMA from 2000 - 2005. That's where you first saw guys like, Wanderlei Silva, Cro Cop, Fedor, Sakuraba. You know, those people nobody has ever heard of."


Corrupt, silly and absurdly over-rated IMO.

The best thing pride did was discover Fedor, Shogun and Nogs.

Other than the 2005 LHW tournament can you name any other wholly notable pride cards?

I was surprised one night when I went to netflix considering renting some pride DVD's and realized that there wasn't any really strong cards that I wanted to waste a rental on.
All the best fights in pride were usually the only good fight on the card.

And BTW, I always remembered Vanderlei from getting plastered by Vitor before I saw him in pride years later.
peanutbuttter- March 13, 2010 at 12:41 pm
In the battle of post fight stances, rich by far has the sassiest.
Goat- March 13, 2010 at 12:31 pm
So I guess we're stuck watching another season of TUF that doesn't mean shit, right?
budsellers- March 13, 2010 at 12:27 pm
the way i understood this story/rumor from the outset was that this would be a free fight night event on spike to counter the cbs programming. considering that ufc 112 is the weekend before, i would think nobody believes that is enough time for ufc to properly promote this event as a ppv.

if it is on free tv, i assume that most people will choose, as i will, to dvr both programs and continually flip channels between both...
Flux- March 13, 2010 at 12:11 pm

Are you kidding me? How could you think PRIDE was worse than Strikeforce? Sure, PRIDE had plenty of freakshow fights solely for the Japanese audience, and they ( just like every other Japanese promotion, it seems ) throw up-and-comers straight to the wolves so they can make a quick buck.

But PRIDE was the biggest, brightest, most balls-tightenly awesome stage for MMA from 2000 - 2005. That's where you first saw guys like, Wanderlei Silva, Cro Cop, Fedor, Sakuraba. You know, those people nobody has ever heard of.
cecils_pupils- March 13, 2010 at 11:51 am
As always, ReX13 hits the nail right on the head. It's gotta B the Hep... what else could "significantly impact his future as a fighter" but NOT be an injury?

The only other possibility is that Tito is pregnant with Jenna's babies.