The longest running feud in MMA has come to an end. UFC president Dana White and Tito Ortiz have buried the hatchet. Could this mean a return to UFC for the former light heavyweight champion?
“Yes tito and I made up. Doesn’t mean he’s back it means we aren’t smashing each other anymore and we don’t hate each other.” – Dana White’s Twitter
Ex UFC champion Tito Ortiz has not fought in over a year. Ortiz’s last match against Lyoto Machida was the final of his UFC contract. Since then, one of the most recognizable names in pop culture has been unable to come to an agreement on his next fight. It is not inconceivable to think that this news could open the door for a return to UFC.
Things just got flat out weird between the two during Ortiz’s last UFC run. First, Dana White promoted a boxing exhibition between the two. Ortiz didn’t show up. Ortiz claimed on my radio show that White swerved him. Ortiz told me that he was never told the fight would be aired on television. According to Tito, he had no problem fighting but wasn’t going to fight on television for free.
White blasted Tito after this fell apart. White even went as far as to air the fight special and show Ortiz not showing up. This made Ortiz out to look like a coward. I found it amazing that White would continue to trash Ortiz, who still had fights left on his UFC contract.
White continued to publicly criticize Tito through the end of his last contract. At one time White shockingly claimed Ortiz was not an elite fighter and questioned his reputation. I say this is shocking, considering the fact that UFC was still booking Tito in main-events. That would be like Vince McMahon saying Triple H sucks before booking him in the WrestleMania main-event.
It got to the point where Dana White publicly said he wants Tito Ortiz to get annihilated in his last match against Lyoto Machida. The statements were about the worst business I have ever seen from Dana White. If Ortiz would have defeated Machida with no contract, than what would Dana have done?
Prior to this peacemaking, Tito claimed he was close to signing a deal with Affliction. Tito even went as far as to say he wanted a match with WAMA champion Fedor Emelianenko. I think that was a little bit of posturing. I don’t think anyone would take that kind of a match seriously at all.
The bottom line is that Tito Ortiz sells shows. His matches with Ken Shamrock broke records at the time. He was arguably the most entertaining coach of the entire The Ultimate Fighter series. Dana White and Tito Ortiz making amends is a great thing for business, a great thing for MMA, and a great thing for UFC.
Thanks to MMANews.com for the tip!
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