Why did Tito Ortiz leave TUF 11? That has been one of the most asked questions by UFC fans for the last few weeks. Well after weeks of waiting and conveniently in the midst of sweeps, UFC fans will finally know why Tito Ortiz left TUF 11 and backed out of UFC 115.
This story has taken on a new life of its own ever since it broke. Rumors have speculated from a Tito Ortiz and Chuck Liddell fight, to this being related to the miscarriage of his babies by Jenna Jameson, to Tito Ortiz injuring his back. One thing is for sure. Tito Ortiz is definitely out of The Ultimate Fighter 11 after tonight and will be replaced by Rich Franklin.
The preview for tonight’s TUF 11 episode leads you to believe that there was a physical altercation between TUF 11 coaches Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz. Chuck Liddell is shown being held back, while Tito Ortiz is shown going on a rampage. Unfortunately I think that is a bit of a bait and switch. According to my current Comcast television listing, the preview for the show mentions Tito Ortiz getting a call from home. Reading into that description, I would bet that Tito Ortiz is leaving TUF 11 because of his girlfriend’s miscarriage.
[adinserter block=”1″]Now the skeptic in me has a little bit of a problem with the timing of all of this. Either the UFC and Spike TV just happened to get extremely lucky and all of this went down coincidentally in the middle of television sweeps or something isn’t on the up and up. I understand that even though TUF 11 is a reality television show they have creative justice to edit the show however they like, but they only have so much liberty. Something like this couldn’t have happened Week 1 and been extended through sweeps. In all fairness, Spike TV and the UFC taped this awhile back so maybe they strategically aired shows to catch sweeps by doubling up on fight episodes, etc. Or, did Tito Ortiz go into this injured with everyone having full knowledge and the plan was to pull the switch in the midst in sweeps?
This question will be clarified a lot tonight by the way Tito Ortiz exits TUF 11. If it is the unfortunate phone call about his girlfriend’s miscarriage, than all bets are off. There is no way that the crew could have known in advance about this and I will rely on the theory that they strategically produced the TUF 11 season in order to capture this moment during sweeps. On the other hand, if Tito Ortiz is kicked out because of a fight or he leaves for something a little more controversial, then I start asking questions.
This season of The Ultimate Fighter has really been hit and miss on and off of the air. On the air, the show has spotlighted some interesting personalities but I don’t see anyone on there that has the breakout potential of past TUF alumni other than possibly Jamie Yager. Additionally, the inexperience of the fighters shows with every fight as most of the fights this season have been extremely sloppy and not that exciting. Off of the air, the show had a big increase in ratings once news broke about Tito Ortiz leaving The Ultimate Fighter. However, the ratings dipped badly last week and I have to think that as much as UFC fans want to see what happens they are just not feeling the show.
[adinserter block=”2″]The timing couldn’t have been worse as the Tito Ortiz vs. Chuck Liddell rivalry has just started to heat up. After looking like old high school pals to start the season, the tension has really begun to mount and the dynamic just started turning me around from having no interest in a fight to now wanting to see Liddell vs. Ortiz III. I can’t even begin to comprehend that Rich Franklin and Chuck Liddell could do the same thing in such a short time. Then again all you need is one of those guys to lose their temper for a couple of minutes and you have a fight at UFC 115 that people want to see. Right now you don’t.
At the end of the day I think Tito Ortiz once again proved himself to be a fighter’s coach this season on The Ultimate Fighter. Ortiz didn’t have the same success as he did on TUF 3, but it looked like he was turning things around for his team. It is hard to become a sympathetic figure when you are coaching against arguably the biggest superstar in the history of the UFC, but I think Ortiz once again turned his public image around.
It will be really interesting to see where Tito Ortiz goes from here. Unless Chuck Liddell gets destroyed at UFC 115, I think Dana White keeps Tito Ortiz vs. Chuck Liddell on the books. The timing couldn’t be better for the annual year-end UFC spectacular.
See the fights, Liddell vs. Ortiz DVD Set / Chuck Liddell Iceman T-shirt.
Own the Chuck Liddell Signature UFC T-shirt.
Watch the Ultimate Iceman: Chuck Liddell DVD.
Check out the Tito Ortiz Team Ortiz The Ultimate Fighter Jersey.
Tito Ortiz’s autobiography This Is Gonna Hurt: The Life of a Mixed Martial Arts Champion by clicking here.