Despite his initial reluctance to replace Phil Davis on short notice, Tito Ortiz has agreed to step in and face Rashad Evans in the UFC 133 main event. Dana White made the announcement on his favorite social network, which was quickly followed by an official announcement on UFC.com.
The stakes have just gotten higher for UFC 133 main eventer Rashad Evans, as the former light heavyweight champion will now face an old rival, Tito Ortiz, on the August 6th card in Philadelphia after his original opponent, Phil Davis, was forced out of the bout due to injury.
The two originally met in July of 2007, battling to a three round draw. Ortiz is coming off a UFC 132 win over Ryan Bader, and now he’s back to battle Evans just one month later.
Now word on what the UFC offered Tito to change his mind, but my guess it involves more money and a provision that protects him from getting cut if he loses. That’s what I would have demanded anyways.
Update: This explains why Dana White initially said Lyoto Machida was taking the fight, then corrected himself an hour later. Machida’s camp initially agreed to the fight but then came back and said they wanted “Anderson Silva money,” or at least that’s how Dana claims it went down.
“Machida accepted the fight,” White told MMAjunkie.com. “We knew for a couple days this was going down, and Machida accepted the fight. Then when we called back and said, ‘OK, we’re going to make this fight,’ Machida’s people came back and said, ‘We’ll tell you what. You pay us what you pay Anderson Silva, and we’ll take the fight.’ This was after they had already agreed to take the fight.
“I said, ‘Are you [expletive] kidding me? I’ll tell you what. You tell Machida he achieves what [expletive] Anderson Silva has achieved, then maybe he’ll make Anderson Silva money. Have a nice day.'”
I don’t blame Machida for asking for more money, but that’s pretty unprofessional to agree to the fight and demand more money later… if that’s what happened. Obviously, Dana was pretty pissed about that, but he had nothing but glowing remarks for his sometimes-friend, sometimes enemy Tito Ortiz.
“Tito turned it down, and then Tito called back and said, ‘Did you get the fight yet?'” White said. “I said, ‘Nope.’ He goes, ‘Let me think about it. Let me talk to my team, and I’ll call you back tomorrow.’ This was Tuesday night.”
“I think it’s a big fight for Tito,” White said. “I think he’s got a lot of momentum after winning that last fight. Evans was in line for a shot. Tito is now fighting a guy he went to a draw with and who hasn’t fought in a year-and-a-half.”
“[Expletive] right, he gets a break,” White said. “Tito stepped up to the plate. It’s [expletive] weird here. It’s like I’m dealing with a new person. I like it. I like the new Tito.
“The storyline is what’s so interesting. Tito went from ‘You’re about to be cut,’ to now, if he beats Rashad Evans, he’s back in the mix. He’s back in the picture.”
And from the way Tito describes how it went down, it doesn’t sound like he tried to get anything extra for taking the fight. He claims the fight began to make sense when he started thinking about what winning the fight would do for his career in and out of the cage.
“I’m kind of like do I do it for the company? Do I do it for myself? Do I do it for my fans? Or do I step back and wait for the right time and everything? I went through a camp that was really, really good. After the fight (against Ryan Bader), I took a little time off, and to correct you, it’s actually two weeks of training and a week of doing the PR stuff for the fight, so it’s putting in two weeks of hard work and could I pull it off?” Ortiz told MMAWeekly Radio.
“I made kind of a soft decision yesterday of saying I have to live a life, I’ve got to take care of my family at home, I have a business Punishment Athletics, I have a gym Punishment Training Center that’s doing really, really well right now, my nutrition line Punishment Nutrition that I just launched in July. I have so much business opportunities come about, but can I catapult this even more and continue this Cinderella story by taking this fight against Rashad Evans?”
“Hopefully everybody will be happy. I’m happy; my camp’s happy. The future will hold great things for me, and this Cinderella story is not over yet,” said Ortiz.
It will definitely be one heck of a Cinderella story if he manages to pull it off.