Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Where to go, Tito?

Tito Ortiz's UFC contract has officially expired (there was a 60 day no compete clause in his contract that took effect after his fight with Machida).

Tito recently claimed to have signed a "ground breaking contract" with Affliction. But he hasn't he's still in negotiations with Affliction, and with almost every other MMA promotion in existence (except for Strikeforce oddly enough).

Since, Tito's still on the market, let's take a look at his options:

Affliction is the biggest MMA promotion that isn't the UFC.

Tito loves the spotlight Affliction is a big organization and can provide that.

Tito is still has name recognition with casual fans in the US. He'll bring in some extra PPV buys. Affliction needs those casual fans to buy their PPV's & see Fedor.

Affliction has already gotten weary of giving out incredibly lucrative contracts and has already asked some fighters to take a pay cut.

Who would Tito fight? Affliction doesn't have much in terms of light heavyweight talent besides Sobral. Tito is no longer a top talent, and whoever signs him will have to be very "selective" in picking his opponents. So far, Affliciton hasn't given anyone easy fights.

EliteXC is built around an ex-street fighter & an American Gladiator. Having an ex-UFC champion will help EliteXC look more like a serious MMA promotion and less like a circus side show.

Tito's possibly more interested in being a celebrity than a fighter. EliteXC is the ONLY MMA promotion that can put him on network TV live in prime time. Tito signs with EliteXC had he's a main event on network TV. He signs with Affliction or the UFC and he's a main card fight on a PPV.

EliteXC has already shown that they're willing to give favorable match ups to their big names.

Word on the internet is EliteXC is done. EliteXC's October show on CBS is supposed to be a make-or-break event. EliteXC can't setup it's most legit fight (Noons vs Diaz) because Noons won't return EliteXC's calls EliteXC is considering pulling a Great White Hype with Kimbo by having him fight one of the guys that beat him as an "amateur" even though the guy isn't a MMA fighter. If Tito signs with EliteXC and EliteXC survives, Titos' the man that saved EliteXC. If Tito signs with EliteXC and EliteXC still fold, EliteXC was dead anyway, but Tito got to fight (and win, based on how EliteXC picks opponents) on network TV.


Tito still has enough name recognition to function as a gatekeeper. Put him in one or two fights against favorable competition. Then, put him in against an upcoming talent that needs a big name win to get some name recognition (ex. Thiago Silva).

Tito & Dana White dislike each other.

Doubtful that Tito would settle for that role.

Ortiz vs Machida - Tito was supposed to be a big name win to give Machida some recognition with casual fans. The recognition Machida got was being the guy who won a boring fight against Tito.

Tito can be the main event.

Having Tito will slightly raise the profile of the organization.


No spotlight/publicity for Tito.

I've been waiting for Tito to sign with EliteXC ever since his last fight with the UFC. Its the perfect fit for Tito. Unfortunately, I doubt Tito will sign with EliteXC.

EliteXC and Affliction are the only two promotions that it makes sense for Tito. So, if Tito won't sign with EliteXC, Affliction is really his only other option.

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