Embattled UFC light heavyweight Tito Ortiz recently released a video the night before he underwent neck surgery in Las Vegas to explain, somewhat vaguely, his removal from The Ultimate Fighter and his withdrawal from a third fight with Chuck Liddell. Ortiz said that he he would receive another “fusion” surgery, much like the one that he underwent in October of 2008 to correct lower back problems that he claimed had prevented him from performing up to his full potential in his last several fights. After said surgery, Ortiz claimed to be back to one hundred percent but suffered a loss in a rematch against Forrest Griffin shortly thereafter that he blamed on injuries. Below is a transcription of Ortiz’s dialogue in the video, which was followed by several minutes of graphic footage of his neck surgery.
“Three months ago I said my neck was jacked and I was still fighting, putting my a** on the line. I can’t fight hurt anymore. I can’t fight injured and look for excuses, I never want to look for excuses. I always want to win in every one of my fights. But here’s another surgery. I’ll get fusion–C-5, C-6–in my neck, so… I’m scared but Dr. Smith is a great doctor, he does great surgeries. My lower back was hard but I got through it. They said this is about ten to fifteen percent easier so I don’t know how much more that is but this will be the beginning of the last of my back and neck pain. No more neck pain, no more headaches, no more numbness going down my arms. And I’ll be able to train because I’ve been having problems wrestling, hitting mitts, getting punched in the head from The Ultimate Fighter. That’s why they pretty much fired me…before The Ultimate Fighter was over. What can I do? Gotta get the surgery done that way I can get back and fight again.”
No word from UFC President Dana White yet as to whether or not Ortiz’s claims about being fired are true but, just as with earlier rumors concerning his TUF departure, fans will likely be told to stay tuned in order to find out the real scoop.
Ortiz’s lower back surgery required a year of rehab so it is likely that he will be out of action for close to that amount of time, although there has been no official word as of yet concerning when “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” is expecting to make his return. Ortiz has not won a fight since his October 2006 TKO victory over Ken Shamrock and since then has gone 3-0-1 against Chuck Liddell, Rashad Evans, Lyoto Machida and Forrest Griffin, respectively. He last appeared in action against Griffin in November of 2009 and before that against Machida in May of 2008; another long injury layoff will do nothing to assist Ortiz in ending his career on a high note.
You can watch the video below: