(“I’M BACK!” has been downgraded to “Just give me a minute, okay?”)
The race is on to salvage UFC 133‘s main event, in the wake of Phil Davis’s knee injury withdrawal. One fighter who won’t be stepping up against Rashad Evans on short notice is Tito Ortiz, who’s coming off his career-restoring submission of Ryan Bader at UFC 132. According to an MMAFighting report, Ortiz was the first man the UFC turned to when Davis bowed out, but the Huntington Beach Bad Boy declined the offer. As he explained via twitter:
I have a life and things to take care of. The fight game is about making the right choices of my career. If you knew what I have been going through you all would understand. Peaking for a fight is what makes a fighter unstoppable! Timing is everything in life. This is a rebuild year for me not do or die. The time will come again!
Ortiz and Evans fought to a unanimous draw four years ago at UFC 73, in which Ortiz was deducted a point for repeatedly grabbing the fence. A rematch down the road might hold some interest for fans, but for Ortiz, a short-notice fight against Evans is clearly too big of a risk so soon after returning to the win column — and we can’t blame him.
The UFC is currently trying to bring in Lyoto Machida to replace Phil Davis, but nothing has been signed yet. Fun fact: Including UFC 133, six of the last nine UFC main events have been changed on short notice. Let’s run ‘em down…
UFC 133 (8/6): Originally Rashad Evans vs. Phil Davis, new main event TBA
TUF 13 Finale (6/4): Tony Ferguson vs. Ramsey Nijem, unchanged
UFC Fight Night 24 (3/26): Originally Antonio Rogerio Nogueira vs. Tito Ortiz, changed to Nogueira vs. Phil Davis