No-Show Ortiz: Let the Games Begin
Ortiz (Pictures) knows it’s all about the
Which is why most of the fight community tuned in to a news
conference Wednesday in Las Vegas for the Oct. 11 Affliction 2 "Day
of Reckoning" only to hear that the fighter would not only not be
attending, but also that he has not yet been signed by the
SI.com reported Tuesday that the boisterous light heavyweight had
become a free agent on Monday and was hours away from announcing a
deal with Affliction, though the report was later updated to
describe Ortiz’s signing as a possibility.
Legal counsel for Affliction Entertainment said Wednesday that
Ortiz’s signing was only a “rumor,” and that when he was released
from his contractual obligations, the promotion would be interested
in signing him.
“Don Trump Jr., myself and Tito engaged in a conversation,” said
Michael Cohen, executive vice president of The Trump Organization
and special counsel to Donald Trump, who started a business
relationship with the promotion in June. “There is nothing
substantive that was discussed other than the fact we are
interested in sitting down with him, which we're planning on doing
in the very near future.”
Affliction Vice President Tom Atencio would not address Ortiz's
claims to SI.com that the potential deal would be a
“ground-breaking record contract” that included duties outside the
ring as well. Atencio said he has not yet spoken with Ortiz.
Ortiz, 33, recently satisfied a multi-fight contract with the UFC.
He has served as one of the promotion’s top three draws for the
last 11 years. It is believed Ortiz has recently completed a
“matching period” that is standard within the promotion’s contracts
in which Zuffa can match any rival offers made for the fighter’s
Disillusionment between UFC President Dana White and the polarizing
Ortiz has been well documented, and the fighter has publicly
commented that he would not re-sign with the UFC on numerous
Ortiz has been here before, however. In 2005, the fighter strongly
hinted he would be signing with the now-defunct World Fighting
Alliance, only to come to terms with Zuffa’s majority owner,
Lorenzo Fertitta, in the negotiation’s eleventh hour.
The December 2006 rematch between Ortiz and Chuck
Liddell (Pictures) remains the highest grossing MMA
pay-per-view in the sport’s history, reportedly netting more than 1
Ortiz (15-6-1) dropped a unanimous decision to Lyoto
Machida (Pictures) (13-0) at UFC 84 “Ill Will” on
May 24 in Las Vegas, marking Ortiz’s second loss in three
Brian O'Hara contributed to this report.
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