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Tito Ortiz Accepts Machida Fight; Will Likely Be His Last for the UFC

Tito Ortiz confirmed on Sirius’s Fight Network Radio yesterday that he has accepted a May 24th fight with undefeated light-heavyweight contender Lyoto Machida, but because of disputes over money and a lack of respect from the UFC’s top brass (sound familiar?), it will be his last for the organization:

Expecting a rematch with “The Ultimate Fighter 2” winner Rashad Evans, Ortiz (15-5-1) said he begrudgingly accepted the bout with the Japanese-Brazilian fighter who toppled PRIDE sensation Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou with a second-round submission at UFC 79 “Nemesis” on Dec. 29 in Las Vegas.

“I was expecting a bigger fight. I think the fans were expecting a bigger fight,” said Ortiz. “I got pressed into it, and all of a sudden, it’s all over the Internet that Tito Ortiz won’t fight Machida. I’m just looking to get my final fight over with the UFC.”

On the topics of money and respect, Ortiz was out for blood:

“They said I wasn’t worth the money. I was worth no more than what I’m getting paid now, and I’m not a commodity to them anymore. I’m not as viable to them anymore. That was a sign of disrespect…With Dana in charge, I don’t think [another title shot] will ever happen for me. Dana has bad blood for me and nothing but bad blood. They’re going to try and ruin me…[The UFC] could care less about the fighters. Fighters are a dime a dozen. They’ll keep coming. Dana is really out for himself and the company. He doesn’t give a s–t about the fighters.”

So let’s take it from the top. Ortiz’s desire for a re-match with Rashad Evans comes from a place of personal honor; he wants to avenge his draw against who he perceives as an inferior fighter. But if he thinks that another bout with Evans would be a “bigger fight” in terms of PPV buys/general hype than a fight against top contender Lyoto Machida, he is deluding himself. Fan interest lies with Machida now, not Evans — Ortiz fans will show up to his last UFC appearance no matter who he fights. Of course, neither opponent would pull in dollars like Ortiz’s bank-breaking wars with Chuck Liddell and Ken Shamrock, but Ortiz vs. Machida is the fight that UFC fans genuinely want to see.

Clearly this is more about looking good in his last fight. Though Ortiz could probably dominate Evans in a rematch, Machida has made everyone from Rich Franklin to Stephan Bonnar to Rameau Sokoudjou look stupid, and Ortiz isn’t the guy to figure out how to beat him. Unfortunately, Ortiz’s relationship with the UFC isn’t good enough for Dana White to hand him an easy win for his farewell performance; instead, he’s being used as a gatekeeper for the light-heavyweight division’s upper-echelon. Maybe now he wishes he hadn’t been such a pain in Dana White’s ass.

As for money, the Fight Network reports that Ortiz has made over $1 million per fight in his latest outings. (We’re guessing a large chunk of that comes from a percentage he receives from PPV revenue.) Ortiz is convinced he’s worth a lot more, but he’s drifting further and further from #1 contender status, and other guys are overtaking him, both in terms of talent and marketability. Quinton Jackson and Forrest Griffin have basically made Tito Ortiz obsolete. In other words, he’s not worth a lot more that a million per fight, and the UFC knows it. To some extent, Tito must know it too. Hence the hostility.

But Ortiz has to be careful with his words until that last fight is in the can. I doubt the UFC will try to road-block his involvement with other fight promotions to the extent that they’ll do to Randy Couture — as a beloved champion, Couture is more of a painful loss to the UFC than a loudmouthed aspiring actor on the downswing. But as we learned last week, if you make enough harmful statements in the press, you’ll have a lawsuit waiting for you.

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Tito's Fat Head- May 29, 2008 at 10:37 am
Tito Ortiz stinks up the sport. Tito brings low class to any broadcast, he always has.

Plus, its time for him to retire. Tito can move on to more cheap tv like old has-been celebrity shows with Chachi and ... was going to say Erik Estrada, but Tito Ortiz is even lower than Erik Estrada, more like Screech.

And Tito can appear on tv from here on, they've got a possible spot on "JACKASS" for him. He can sub in for that guy who went around in the thong, whatever the hell that atrocity was.... Huntington Beach Party boi or whatever the hell his name was.

Tito Ortiz is just a disgrace to the sport. Tito Ortiz is to MMA as Michael Jackson is to whatever the hell Michael Jackson is.
marcus- April 10, 2008 at 10:22 pm
machida is better fighter in all aspects, and his stile is so hard to deal with, than ......sorry "tito" fans, Im brazilian and I know machida well to say that, tito is done!!! lol...."vai apanhar muito e perder feio!!!"
Fern- April 3, 2008 at 12:14 am
Good for you Tito! Hell all the best fighter do not fight in the UFC anyways. "F" Dana White, do your thing bro!
blayne logan- February 28, 2008 at 3:03 pm
i want to see Ortiz VS Kimbo anyway.
matt- February 21, 2008 at 11:02 pm
so do you guys feel the same about randy because he's said the same thing but it was in a press con. You guys think it's a big deal because it's tito and people love to hate him if it was bj or hughs you would back them up but no it's tito so lets just shit on him. The way i look at at good for you tito at least someone i say what it's like as a fighter not to long ago tito was there poster boy thay wanted him then why not now back up you fighters instead they shit all over them.

GO TITO
bba- February 4, 2008 at 2:10 am
Dna White is ans asshole typical greedy corpoerate dog. How much does he make per event? His ass isnt on the line
d0df0dt- February 2, 2008 at 2:42 pm
Come on Tito, enough with your ego-bullshit please.. Stop thinking money, and start your preps for the fight.. your'e gonna need them :)

Anyway, I'm looking forward to see tito get his ass kicked by machida...
The Agent- January 22, 2008 at 8:00 am
if he is only in it for the money, then he is there for the wrong reason, so him leaving is properly the right thing.
MMA FAN- January 21, 2008 at 4:59 pm
I am not sticking up for Tito but I have to say it seems to be a trend that UFC fighters are looking other places. UFC is making the name for them and then pissing them off so they fight elsewhere. Then along comes the new "interm champ" and newest UFC face until they piss him off. This will only do one thing that works out for us fans. The bigger names will be fighting for other leagues and not just the UFC. So Dana keep being the Asshole that you are and we can all gain from it.
Jeremy- January 21, 2008 at 4:24 pm
I think Tito has lost sight over what is important. He has already made more money than he can spend, and hes not going to make anymore working for a different organization. DO IT FOR THE FANS TITO. cuz one day people are gonna watch TV and say...."hmm i know what the UFC is...But who is this Tito guy."
MrTypo- January 21, 2008 at 3:02 pm
Prop to Dana White for Standing up !!! I love that guy. To keep the MMA going, you can't spend all your money in salary, you need a big chuck for promotion. Don't like the salary? Cool, go fight in XC. What dont like it either? wuss.. never happy.

White for president !!!
Olie- January 21, 2008 at 2:50 pm
Pretty stupid shouting his mouth off like that. Hey when your chips are down you think the world's against you. For christ sake, these guys are suppose to be warriors. It's what they train for every day and what they get paid for. Dana is out for himself, so what? I'm sure Tito is out for himself as is every other man. That's what makes this sport so good. It's cut throat and only the best survive. That's the nature of the beast. What's new?
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