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UFC Press Conference Highlights: Tito Ortiz is Back, Belfort vs. Franklin @ UFC 103

(One more round for old time’s sake?)

Though Dana White was hoping he could announce the signing of Fedor Emelianenko at this afternoon’s much-anticipated UFC press conference, it was not meant to be. DW said he did everything he could possibly do to get Emelianenko into the Octagon and offered him an "amazing" deal, but M-1′s dogged desire for co-promotion sunk the negotiations, which made Dana "fucking miserable." Still, there were some major announcements to share, which are sure to get MMA fans talking:

UFC 103‘s main event has been thankfully changed to Rich Franklin vs. Vitor Belfort. The match will be contested at light-heavyweight. Dan Henderson will likely get the next crack at Anderson Silva‘s middleweight belt, possibly followed by the winner of the Nate Marquardt/Demian Maia match at UFC 102.

Tito Ortiz (remember that guy?) is back in the UFC, and plans to fight before the end of the year. Mark Coleman has been named as a possible opponent.

— Ortiz on Strikeforce: "Strikeforce has no challenges. If I fought Frank Shamrock again it would be the first death in MMA history."

— Ortiz on his new UFC deal: "You’ll never hear me complain about money again." We’re happy for you, Tito. Couldn’t have happened to a nicer person.

— ESPN will begin carrying UFC programming in high def for the U.K. and Ireland.

— The UFC will continue to produce its own TV and not hand over the production to a network.

— The UFC is shooting for Vancouver in 2010, and intends to go everywhere, including Russia. UFC 100 apparently had 25 million viewers in Mexico. Ortiz wants to headline a card in Mexico City.

— Dana says he’s still working on another major deal that will "change the UFC forever."

(Props to MMA Mania and MMA Fanhouse‘s reports)

FiveOuncesofPain adds the following: According to White, Paul Daley, Ben Rothwell, Chase Gormley, Paul Buentello, Dan Lauzon, Rafaello “Tractor” Oliveira has all been signed to UFC contracts. Additionally, Mark Hominick, L.C. Davis, and Javier Vazquez have all been signed to WEC contracts. White indicated that more additions from the Affliction roster could be made. When asked about Affliction heavyweights Tim Sylvia and Andrei Arlovski, White said he had no interest in re-signing either at this time.

Cagepotato Comments

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Jay Smith- August 2, 2009 at 7:56 pm
I don't know about anyone else, but I'm not too pumped to see Dan and the spider get it on again. I'd rather see Nate the great, or Demian Maia, get a shot first.
Drizzal83- August 1, 2009 at 9:23 am
Just confirmed at FightersOnly : Dan Henderson's next fight will be vs. Anderson Silva and barring serious injury in his fight next weekend it should happen before years end. December "mega-card" again?
themcgraw- July 31, 2009 at 3:48 pm
Andre gets knocked out twice and he is old news. less than year ago dana said he was the "one" who got away. glad fedor and rodgers helped dana remember why he cut him. Good to see the "past their prime" Afflication shirts will make a entry comeback. Meatheads rejoice, but not at once
Joedirt- July 31, 2009 at 2:40 pm
From a legal standpoint I think Fedor has to finish out his contract. Maybe if he accepted any UFC offer that compensated M1 it wouldn't cover the difference and wasn't worth it for him... I hope his 3 fights are fast....
Endocat- July 31, 2009 at 2:38 pm
25 million viewers in Mexico for UFC 100?

and to think people thought they didn't watch MMA down there
mmmiles9000- July 31, 2009 at 2:16 pm
Huzzah. Belfort/Franklin is sick.

And well, for whatever it's worth, I guess I'm glad Tito's back. Probably fights that I'll watch and possibly regret later.

The UFC will soon have the problem of having too many stars, and marketing them all properly won't be easy.
The Truth- July 31, 2009 at 2:12 pm
No officially the baddest motherfucker on the planet at poker when I know what cards the other guy has from watching ESPN so much.
thatswhatsup- July 31, 2009 at 2:04 pm
maybe the big news is that ESPN will find time to air MMAlive instead 12 hours of poker tournaments.
Chin Up-Hands Down KO- July 31, 2009 at 1:49 pm
Hey guys! M-1 Affliction Challenge comes on tonight! I love me some HDNet.
MC Obscene- July 31, 2009 at 1:25 pm
Yeah, 2 fighters:

Fedor Emelianenko
Karl Amoussou

I hate M-1
omunto- July 31, 2009 at 1:19 pm

Great find man. I had to check it out and that was great. For all those who haven't looked. Check out M-1's "expansive" Fighters list sPeLLcHeCkEr mentioned.
leonard cohen- July 31, 2009 at 1:11 pm
franklin continues his tour of being in no way working towards a title but stays between weight limits fighting name fighters in main events to keep everyone from thinking about that. i gotta say though, the ufc has done a great job with his career. after the second silva fight everyone was wondering what is he gonna do now in the ufc? i wondered why they didnt wait for that rematch so they could milk more fights out of him while he works for a rematch. but they have kept him alive and have made plenty of money off him in the process.
JPfighter-DAMMA- July 31, 2009 at 1:09 pm
I think it is great to see Tito back in the UFC. Love him, or hate him, he is a major PPV draw, and is a pretty exciting fighter to watch. He is one of those mainstay fighters that will always have a following (win, lose or draw), much like Wanderlei.
sPeLLcHeCkEr- July 31, 2009 at 1:08 pm
I just had a good laugh looking at the roster on M-1's website.
Jay Smith- July 31, 2009 at 1:00 pm
Tito did himself well by holding on to those pictures of dana white backstage @ The Village People concert!!!
kupo- July 31, 2009 at 12:53 pm
Ortiz on Strikeforce: "Strikeforce has no challenges. If I fought Frank Shamrock again it would be the first death in MMA history."

hahahahahahahahah someone is still butt-hurt about the ass-whooping he received from a smaller fighter.
My Cage- July 31, 2009 at 12:42 pm
MC Obscene- July 31, 2009 at 12:40 pm
Does anyone know the status of Chris Horodecki? I was hoping that the UFC was going to pick him up.
Old_Bald_and_Irish- July 31, 2009 at 12:32 pm
Ortiz on Strikeforce: "Strikeforce has no challenges. If I fought Frank Shamrock again it would be the first death in MMA history."

I guess Tito never heard about Douglas Dedge or Sam Vasquez.

....why am I not surprised.

Can someone please send Tito to the city of Japan for good?
LoneWolf- July 31, 2009 at 12:28 pm
Finally some good news!!!!!!!
Mike Milbury- July 31, 2009 at 12:24 pm
@My Cage: yeah, it was pretty cool when Dana wore that back at the UFC 61 weigh-ins.
Josh-O Slicenett- July 31, 2009 at 12:22 pm
Another major deal, huh? I'm gonna bet that it's UFC programming on an ESPN channel here in the states.
Bob Reilly- July 31, 2009 at 12:18 pm
Thats an old picture.
Goog- July 31, 2009 at 12:12 pm
"Sorry Goog, you're going to have to wait a little while longer for your Cub Swanson blow-up doll."

My Cage- July 31, 2009 at 12:11 pm
Btw Forgot to mention, I love the Fact that Dana is wearing an affliction t-shirt :P