In a development that few of you will admit to caring about, Tito Ortiz now says that returning to the UFC is a real possibility, and he’s looking to emerge from his competitive hiatus this summer. As Michael David Smith at AOL MMA FanHouse writes:
[At] last weekend’s Rumble in the Park in Fresno, Ortiz said, “It’s either going to be with the UFC or it’s going to be with Affliction, but guaranteed, you guys will see me fight — no matter what — by July.”
Ortiz also mentioned that he had back surgery last month, which he deemed successful. He also said it was the same surgery that Nate Quarry had, and Quarry was out of action for 15 months after his back surgery. So Ortiz is very optimistic if he thinks he can guarantee that he’ll return just seven months after the surgery.
He’s also optimistic if he thinks Affliction will still be in the MMA business in July. And he’s optimistic if he thinks UFC will still be willing to do business with him. Bottom line, Ortiz is an optimistic guy.
Of course, it could be worse: Ortiz was close to signing a contract with EliteXC. As former EliteXC fighter Jake Shields said, “Good thing he didn’t sign with them. He’d be on eBay.”
Quick timeline, if you haven’t been keeping up…
May 28th: Tito Ortiz definitively states that his decision loss to Lyoto Machida at UFC 84 was his last appearance in the UFC’s Octagon. “Me going to somewhere else is 100% happening,” he says in his usual eloquent style.
August 5th: Ortiz says he’s about to sign a “ground-breaking record contract” with Affliction. But it turned out that he was kind of exaggerating, and by August 21st even Donald Trump Jr. was publicly venting about how outrageous Tito’s demands were.
As much as Dana White hates Tito Ortiz, the UFC might be the only organization left that would actually deal with him. Put against the right opponents, he’ll still have a decent amount of drawing power, even though he’s no longer worth as much as he thinks he is. Still, Ortiz should approach a new UFC contract with extreme caution. Because if I was Dana White, there’d be nothing stopping me from signing Ortiz to a three-fight deal — and then making him fight Lyoto Machida all three times.