We’re back in business. Sorry for the late start today, but our flight was delayed several hours last night and I didn’t get home until 5 o’clock in the morning.
Anyways, it looks like the biggest news over the weekend was this Liddell-Couture-Franklin-Tito mess. I’ve spent the past hour or so sifting through all the reports trying to make sense of what’s going on with those four and UFC Fight Night 22, UFC 115 and TUF 11, but I ended up with more questions than answers.
It all started Saturday when Fighters Only published a report claiming Chuck Liddell would face Rich Franklin in the main event at UFC Fight Night 22 on April 17. However, MMA Junkie followed it up with a report of their own confirming the match-up, but on a different card — UFC 115.
But wait, wasn’t Tito Ortiz supposed to fight Chuck on that card? Yes, he was and he may still be, but here’s where it gets confusing. Apparently, there’s been rumors going around that something happened with Tito during the TUF 11 filming mostly stemming from cryptic messages he’s been posting on his Twitter account.
“If things couldn’t get worse, they just did!” Ortiz stated on Feb. 24. “[Expletive]! “I want to thank all my fans for your support!
“I guess business is business.”
Three days later, additional Ortiz comments led to further speculation.
“Thanks for all the support,” Ortiz stated. “Thinking that life couldn’t get any harder? It just did! Another challenge that god has given me! Wow.
“Many things that challenge us in lives will make us stronger. One thing I can say is don’t ever quit. I’m strong because of my family and fans!”
Now MMA Junkie is hearing from their sources that the rumors are actually true. However, Dana White says not so fast, nothing happened with Tito, and they’re still cool with each other.
Still, that doesn’t explain why Chuck would be fighting Franklin in June instead of Tito. Well, Dana says all the reports about Liddell vs. Franklin are not true and it’s actually going to be Randy Couture vs. Rich Franklin though he didn’t specify on which card. There’s reason to believe that might not happen either though. MMA Junkie says while that fight is a possibility, there are “numerous obstacles” that could prevent it from coming together. Plus, Sherdog claims the Chuck vs. Franklin fight is “still in play” regardless of what Dana says. Who to believe?
For now we’ll just have to wait and see how this pans out, but it also leaves further questions about UFC Fight Night 22, the show everyone believed the UFC was countering Strikeforce with. After the initial Chuck vs. Franklin report, it seemed we had our answers, but obviously that all quickly changed leaving the phantom Fight Night 22 card without a single known fight.
Now some are starting to wonder if the event is going to happen at all. The clock is ticking on the UFC filing a permit to run an event in Tennessee on April 17, and available fighters for the card seem to be few and far between.
It’s so questionable at this point at least one person in the Strikeforce/CBS camp is starting to think the UFC was just “messing” with their heads all along.
This source believes that a lot of the rumors that have been swirling in the MMA world over the last couple weeks — about fights on April 17 involving everyone from Chuck Liddell to Rich Franklin to James Toney to Kimbo Slice to Matt Serra to Mike Swick — were floated to create uncertainty about what’s going on April 17.
With five weeks to go, most of the folks involved in the April 17 Strikeforce show believe that their show will stay right where it is, in Nashville on CBS in prime time, and that they won’t be counter-programmed by the UFC.
Whether that was the UFC’s intention or they’re just having a difficult time finding a big enough name to headline the card, it definitely becomes a bigger question each passing day without an official announcement.
Update: This may or may not be related to the mess above, but Jenna says Tito is in the hospital.
Update 2: Tito’s twitter says he has a serious case of the flu, however RawVegas’ Dave Farra says news is out that Tito was pulled off The Ultimate Fighter because of a bad shoulder injury and Rich Franklin has replaced him. I’ve yet to see a report confirming those details though.