It’s been speculated for weeks, now it appears to be official. Tito Ortiz has said that he has agreed to sign a “ground-breaking record contract” with Affliction. Although nothing has been signed yet, Affliction will be holding a press conference today and the signing may be announced. The news was reported by Tito Ortiz to “Sports Illustrated”. His first fight will be against another former UFC employee, Renato “Babalu” Sobral. The bout is scheduled to take place at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas on October 11th.
Ortiz, 33, has had a long running feud with his former employer the UFC, namely company president Dana White, Ortiz’s former manager. He claims he has been mistreated and undervalued by the UFC, the company where he has fought 21 of his 22 professional fights in a career that dates back to 1997.
Ortiz has long been regarded as one of the best fighters in the world at 205lbs., and although he’s gone 0-2-1 in his last three fights, Ortiz feels he has a lot left to give the sport of MMA. In addition to the fight with “Babalu”, Ortiz would also like to have a rematch with Frank Shamrock, and hasn’t ruled out a jump to heavyweight, where he’ll have the most talented pool of big men to compete against.
Ortiz had this to say to SI.com: “I’m going to a company that’s going to take care of me, a company that’s going to respect me, a company that’s going to put me in the forefront and make me the ambassador that I’ve always been. I think Mr. Trump respects me at that value to get it. My heart’s not with the UFC anymore because of how bad they treated me. They don’t respect me and they don’t see me as a businessman. All they think is that I’m a punk fighter that’s going to fold, and I’ve already proven that I’m not going to fold to anything by not resigning with them.”
Ortiz’s signing marks one of many former UFC Champions that have now signed with Affliction. EliteXC and the Kentucky-based AFL had also offered Ortiz deals, but in the end, it was Ortiz’s friendship with “The Donald” that brought him to Affliction.
Stay tuned to Fightline.com for updates on the Affliction press conference, Tito Ortiz, and for all the latest news from the world of MMA.