The currently airing season of “The Ultimate Fighter” features UFC veterans and old rivals Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz coaching fighters on opposing teams to a six-figure UFC contract. Traditionally, the two coaches square off on a pay-per-view event shortly after the show’s airing; the same was planned for Ortiz and Liddell, who were scheduled to fight in the main event of UFC 115.
Shortly after “The Ultimate Fighter: Team Liddell Vs. Team Ortiz” began airing, rumors started swirling that Ortiz had been forced out of his impending bout with Chuck Liddell and out of his position as coach on ‘TUF’. Rich Franklin was then speculated to have replaced Ortiz in both roles.
Despite all evidence indicating otherwise, Liddell, Ortiz and UFC president Dana White vehemently denied Ortiz’s removal from “The Ultimate Fighter” and from his fight with Liddell. After a long period of denying the rumors, the UFC finally came clean yesterday by announcing that Rich Franklin Vs. Chuck Liddell would be the main event of UFC 115 in Vancouver.
Now cleared to tell the truth, Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz posted their reactions to the fight’s announcement on Twitter.
“I haven’t lied to anyone,” wrote Ortiz. “I was told not to say “Anything”! Having a chance to be sued for $5 million was not a chance I wanted to take. So watch TUF 11 and see what happens. I was just doing what I was told, for once. Sorry!”
Both fighters were quoted by the media flat out denying the possibility that their bout had been cancelled and Liddell was a bit more candid in his response; saying that “he had to” lie and:
“I was pissed and have done as little interviews as I could since I knew.”
It is still unclear as to what exactly prompted Ortiz’s removal but it is clear that the UFC will do its best to hold on to viewers and will wait until the answer is unfurled on “The Ultimate Fighter” before discussing it publicly.