According to Steve Cofield of Yahoo Sports, Affliction may have signed one of MMA’s biggest stars—Tito Ortiz. If true, Tito is believed to be close to signing on to fight Renato ‘Babalu’ Sobral at Affliction’s second show, which has been reported to take place at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada on October 11. The match would serve as the co-main event alongside Fedor Emelianenko vs Andrei Arlovski.
Sources have told Yahoo! Sports that free agent Tito Ortiz will fight Renato “Babalu” Sobral in the co-main event at Affliction’s next fight card, on Oct. 11 at the Thomas & Mack Center on the UNLV campus in Las Vegas. The main event will feature a heavyweight bout between WAMMA champion Fedor Emelianenko and Andrei Arlovski.
While it is certainly huge news if it comes to fruition, it looks like we’ll have to wait till August 6 to get official word from Affliction.
Affliction vice president Tom Atencio would not confirm the Ortiz-Babalu fight. He said details for the fight card will be released during an Aug. 6 news conference that most likely will be held in Las Vegas.
Atencio also indicated that he didn’t think Affliction could speak with Ortiz until Aug. 4 because of a 60-day non-compete clause in Ortiz’s UFC contract. Ortiz’s last fight for UFC was on May 24 at UFC 84. If the 60-day clause is accurate, the deal ended last weekend. Atencio said the biggest stumbling block for an Ortiz deal would be the financial terms.
If true, this is a huge boost for Affliction. They currently have a roster of some of the world’s best fighters, but not one of them has proven to be a North American pay-per-view draw. Tito, in contrast, has had tough times as of late in the cage, but continues to be one of sport’s few stars that has consistently proven to be a top draw. He will certainly be worth a significant amount of pay-per-view buys for Affliction.
The biggest question will be though, how much did it cost to get him? One of the biggest reasons Tito left the UFC was because he didn’t feel he was being fairly compensated relative to the amount of revenue he brought in for the UFC. One would only assume he didn’t come cheap, and Atencio has stated they can’t continue to pay the fighters the same amounts they did in the first event. However, in terms of sales, no fighter on Affliction’s roster is more deserving of a huge payday than Tito Ortiz.
He’s not the only missing piece of the puzzle for Affliction, but he’s damn sure a big step in the right direction.
The latest Affliction II: Fedor vs Arlovski fight card and event info can be found in our fight cards section.