Doubtful, but here’s the reason for the question:
Former UFC fighter Tito Ortiz, one of the most notable names currently available on the free-agent market, will be a special guest at Wednesday’s press conference for “Affliction: Day of Reckoning.”
The California-based Affliction Entertainment today announced the former UFC champion’s upcoming appearance.
This sounds more like an attention-getter than anything else. Affliction definitely needs it and Tito can’t live without it.
As you probably remember, Tito twice said he was very close to signing with different organizations earlier this year. First came the SI.com article where he informed SI a deal was finalized, but was quickly retracted thereafter. Then, Tito appeared on the October broadcast of CBS Saturday Night Fights and proclaimed he would be signing with EliteXC within a month. Of course, ProElite folded almost immediately after, thus leaving Tito floating in free agency.
So is this finally it? Has Tito actually signed a deal? Like I said above, I seriously doubt it. For one, hardly anyone believes Affliction will actually be around after Jan. 24 with some very skeptical they’ll even last that long. Why would he sign with an organization with such a questionable future? And two, with ProElite apparently close to making a comeback with CBS still a possibility, wouldn’t he want to wait and see how that plays out before he makes a final decision?
Quite honestly though, like many others, I’ve pretty come to expect that Tito will eventually just end up back in the UFC. I’d be interested to see what kind of impact he can have without the UFC brand behind him, but once all the dust settles, don’t be surprised if you hear Bruce Buffer announce Tito’s name once again.
[UPDATE 12/15/08 9:42PM ET] – For whatever it’s worth, and probably not much, Tito’s apparently saying he’s signing with Affliction again.
MMAWeekly.com sources over the weekend indicated that Ortiz revealed that he has agreed to sign with Affliction Entertainment, though no one at the promotion, nor Ortiz would confirm or deny such an agreement when contacted by MMAWeekly.com.