With the clock quickly counting down to his inevitable bout against Father Time, Tito Ortiz stated that he is close to signing a four-fight contract with Strikeforce, with a scrap against light heavyweight champ Renato “Babalu” Sobral slated for October.
The former UFC champ was the guest of honor at this past Saturday night’s UCFC: Clementi vs. Jensen event inside the Mellon Arena in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. During an intermission break, Ortiz entered the ring and told the crowd that he was on the cusp of signing a four-fight deal to join the newly-revamped Strikeforce promotion.
As if that wasn’t enough, the icing on the cake was when “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” said that the final tussle on the yet-to-be-signed-or-confirmed contract will pit him against WAMMA heavyweight title holder Feder Emelianenko in a catch weight bout.
Since Ortiz’ UFC contract expired after his UFC 84 loss to Lyoto Machida in May of 2008, Ortiz has been one of the most sought after free agents in MMA. He has teetered-and-tawtered, but it appears that he has finally found a new home.
Keep in mind that this isn’t the first time Ortiz has made bold insinuations to keep his name in the headlines. Once again in vintage Tito Ortiz fashion, nothing has been signed, but the hype is certainly there.
Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker had previously stated that they were in talks with the controversial fighter, however nothing was imminent.
“We are in dialogue, and we look forward to Tito fighting for Strikeforce,” Coker said. “We’d love to have him here in San Jose. I think our fans would really appreciate Tito fighting in San Jose.”
Although the 34-year-old remains one of the sports most imposing figures, it should be noted that he has gone 0-2-1 over his last three contests. And it could be argued that he hasn’t won a “big” fight since he took a split decision from Forrest Griffin at UFC 59 in April of 2006.