Fighters Only magazine reported earlier today that Tito Ortiz was out against Chuck Liddell and a replacement bout pitting former UFC middleweight champion Rich Franklin against “The Iceman” would take place on a rumored April 17th card. MMAJunkie.com is reporting now that Ortiz is, in fact, out of the fight and that Franklin and Liddell will face off; only their fight will occur in June at UFC 115 where the original Ortiz-Liddell bout would have taken place, not in Nashville on April 17th.
According to MMAJunkie’s sources, Liddell and Franklin have both verbally agreed to face each other and that bout agreements are expected to be signed soon.
Ortiz and Liddell were coaches against one another on this season of “The Ultimate Fighter” (which recently concluded taping), and plans were made for the two men to fight for the third time at UFC 115 upon the show’s conclusion on television.
It has been said that Ortiz was unable to complete filming of “The Ultimate Fighter” and was replaced by Rich Franklin at some point during the show. It is logical to think that whatever forced Tito out of the show also forced him out of the fight and has the future of his career in question. These rumors are strongly supported by the news that Franklin and Liddell are now set to square off. In February, Ortiz had posted several messages using his Twitter account that had fans speculating and that also lend credence to the rumors.
“If things couldn’t get worse, they just did!” Ortiz wrote. “[Expletive]! “I want to thank all my fans for your support! I guess business is business.”
Following that, some days later Ortiz posted, “Thanks for all the support. Thinking that life couldn’t get any harder? It just did! Another challenge that god has given me! Wow.”
There were other messages posted that were in the same vein as these; nothing has been disclosed as to the nature of Tito’s distress and subsequent exit from the reality show but it has been indicated that it is not due to injury.