It’s been a week full of speculation regarding who would step in for the injured Phil Davis against Rashad Evans.
At first, it was rumored that Lyoto Machida would be jumping in for a rematch against Evans, then that rumor was shot down and Tito Ortiz’s name was thrown in the hat. Ortiz flatly refused at first, then relented and signed on for what will also be a rematch with “Suga.”
According to UFC president Dana White though, Ortiz wasn’t the first one to agree to the bout.
“Machida accepted the fight,” White explained. “We knew for a couple days this was going down, and Machida accepted the fight. Then when we called back and said, ‘OK, we’re going to make this fight,’ Machida’s people came back and said, ‘We’ll tell you what. You pay us what you pay Anderson Silva, and we’ll take the fight.’ This was after they had already agreed to take the fight.
“I said, ‘Are you [expletive] kidding me? I’ll tell you what. You tell Machida (if) he achieves what [expletive] Anderson Silva has achieved, then maybe he’ll make Anderson Silva money. Have a nice day.'”
Seeking only Tito Ortiz money, “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” mulled the offer over and stepped up to the plate on a few weeks notice, putting himself in the good graces of White, with whom he has often shared a strained relationship. Explaining that Ortiz’s job is secure after having taken out Ryan Bader in dramatic fashion at UFC 132, White praised Ortiz and his newfound lease on life.
“[Expletive] right, he gets a break,” White said. “Tito stepped up to the plate. It’s [expletive] weird here. It’s like I’m dealing with a new person. I like it. I like the new Tito. The storyline is what’s so interesting. Tito went from, ‘You’re about to be cut,’ to now, if he beats Rashad Evans, he’s back in the mix. He’s back in the picture.”
Evans and Ortiz will square off in the main event of UFC 133, which goes down at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on August 6, a little over a month after Ortiz defeated Ryan Bader at UFC 132.