("We’re gonna need that shirt back too.")
In an attempt to keep his name somewhat fresh in the minds of MMA fans who used to give a damn about him, Tito Ortiz will be appearing at an Affliction "Day of Reckoning" press conference in L.A. tomorrow; sources have indicated to MMA Weekly that Ortiz has agreed to sign with the promotion.
Though January 24th might be too soon a return date for Ortiz — who underwent back surgery in October — Affliction may be using a Tito-signing announcement to drum up more interest in their product, which certainly needs a push leading up to event #2. What we’re really curious about is what might have changed since August, when Tom Atencio called Ortiz’s contract demands "just not feasible." Did the HBBB get a little more realistic with his asking price, or did Affliction decide that they need Ortiz to boost pay-per-view buys, no matter what the cost?
Affliction’s light-heavyweight division isn’t particularly deep, but a few good matchups are possible for Ortiz. Renato Sobral and Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou are facing off next month, and a fight between the winner of that match and Ortiz would be compelling. Vladimir Matyushenko (who Ortiz previously defeated at UFC 33 in September 2001) and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira are also fighting at "Day of Reckoning," which provides another option. Assuming, of course, that Affliction will be around long enough to stage a third event. And assuming that "Day of Reckoning" will take place to begin with. But hey, if it makes sense to Tito, it makes sense to us.