LOS ANGELES -- The sport’s most intriguing free agent announced he
will take the mic for Affliction Entertainment in its sophomore
event on Jan. 24 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif.
Ortiz will join play-by-play announcer Sean Wheelock and color
commentator Jimmy Smith to call the action at “Day of Reckoning,”
which features a bout between world-ranked heavyweights Fedor
Emelianenko and Andrei
Arlovski. The Wheelock-Smith team currently calls the shots for
M-1 Global, which airs a weekly show on HDNet and will be
collaborating with Affliction on the Jan. 24 event.
“This has nothing to do with me fighting for Affliction,” said
Ortiz at a press conference on Wednesday for the pending event.
“I’ve been fighting for 11 years, so I think I know a thing or two
Ortiz, 33, satisfied a multi-fight contract in May with the UFC,
where he has been one of the promotion’s top-three draws for the
last 11 years. He said he is currently waiting out a non-compete
renegotiation period with the Las Vegas organization that ends in
A public feud between UFC president Dana White and the polarizing
Ortiz has been well documented, to the point where Ortiz commented
that he would not re-sign with the UFC on multiple occasions.
The popular former UFC light heavyweight champion’s decision to
work with the rival promotion could be interpreted as a step
towards him potentially signing with the fledging organization in
the coming months. However, it might be safer to say he is still
playing the field.
Ortiz underwent spinal-fusion back surgery in October and told
HDNet’s Inside MMA in November that he will likely not fight again
until July 2009.
“I’m at about 40 percent,” Ortiz told Sherdog.com on Wednesday.
“I’ve regained a lot of mobility just in the last two weeks.”
Ortiz said the surgery appears to be a complete success and he has
initial plans to fight for the next four years.
A return to the promotion where he started must still be considered
a viable option though. Ortiz’s December 2006 rematch against
former light heavyweight champion Chuck
Liddell remains the highest grossing pay-per-view in the
sport’s history, netting a reported 1,000,080 buys.
One of the first bona fide stars of the sport, Ortiz has enjoyed
mainstream exposure on Donald Trump’s celebrity season of “The
Apprentice” on NBC in 2008. Ortiz and longtime girlfriend Jenna
Jameson are expecting twins in April.
Ortiz (15-6-1) dropped a unanimous decision to Lyoto
Machida (13-0) at UFC 84 “Ill Will” on May 24 in Las Vegas. It
was his second loss in three fights.