News broke over the last few days that Rich Franklin replaced Tito Ortiz during the tapings of The Ultimate Fighter season 11. Further news indicates that Chuck Liddell vs. Rich Franklin is all but set for UFC 115 with the future of Tito Ortiz in serious doubt.
I began hearing rumors of an incident during The Ultimate Fighter taping last week, yet nothing was ever confirmed. The UFC has yet to confirm the Ortiz-Franklin swap, yet every major MMA reporter has confirmed this as fact. The only comment that UFC president Dana White has made on this is through Twitter account. White tweeted that Rich Franklin will be fighting Randy Couture, not Chuck Liddell in his next fight. White never denied or touched on the fact that Tito Ortiz was removed other than to say, “Tito and I are still cool.” At this point the cat is out of the bag so it would probably be in his best interest to address the news.
[adinserter block=”1″]Multiple reporters are sticking by their stories of a Chuck Liddell vs. Rich Franklin fight. To be fair, most reports indicate that this fight has been verbally agreed upon but not officially signed. It appears to me that Dana White’s denial is either something of a smoke screen or he hasn’t officially informed Randy Couture of the change in plans. Otherwise the whole story is a bit confusing to me quite honestly.
The big news here is what the heck happened to Tito Ortiz? Watching Tito Ortiz on The Ultimate Fighter season three and interviewing him, he came off as arguably the best coach in the history of the show. I can’t imagine what he could do to get thrown off the show, when Rampage Jackson can play pranks and break doors and remain intact throughout the season. My assumption is that this is injury-related and something happened either to Tito that prompted Dana to step in and remove him from the show. Knowing how much Dana White loves controversy, I can’t imagine him removing Tito for a physical altercation, etc. I’d also think if Tito was removed for something like that he would be very upset and openly talking about it. Tito has denied all of these rumors through tweets for the record.
[adinserter block=”2″]Welcome back to 2005 UFC fans! I really don’t know what I find less exciting here between a Liddell vs. Ortiz, Liddell vs. Franklin, or Franklin vs. Couture match? Regular readers of my writings know that I am not a Rich Franklin fan whatsoever. I think Rich had a good run when his division was weak, but hasn’t done anything impressive since Anderson Silva came into the division. His only big win came against Wanderlei Silva via decision, and in my mind it was questionable at best. However, Franklin should be able to take Liddell apart at this stage in Chuck’s game. Franklin is just faster and will probably fight the same kind of game plan that he used against Wanderlei Silva. It will probably be a less competitive match than Liddell vs. Ortiz, and probably a lot more boring.
So where does this leave the Huntingdon Beach Bad Boy? He signed a long term deal with the UFC last year. Dana White had big plans for Tito Ortiz, yet it has been a rocky road for the former UFC light heavyweight champion. Ortiz’s first fight against Mark Coleman was canceled, Ortiz lost to Forrest Griffin in a very good fight, and now he has been removed from The Ultimate Fighter season 11 and pulled from his next fight. If this is an injury related situation, this could possibly mean the end of Ortiz fighting in the octagon, although nobody in the UFC ever seems to retire. As someone that interviewed Tito a few years back, he seemed like a really great guy so from this end I wish him a speedy recovery from whatever the situation is that took the former UFC champion to this point.
Note to Dana White: When I mentioned how little interest I had in Tito Ortiz vs. Chuck Liddell III, I was kidding. The last thing I want to see is Rich Franklin on another Ultimate Fighter season!
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