"This is going to be one of the biggest losses [the UFC] has ever had to date and one of the worst mistakes they’ve ever made" said Tito Ortiz after meeting up with Donald Trump (who purchased a significant equity stake in Affliction MMA) as he officially signs with Affliction.
Here’s what Donald Trump had to say about the recent deal with Tito Ortiz:
"I think Tito is terrific…He not only was a nice guy and very different from the way he is in the ring, he was really talented, really smart, and yes, I think he likes me a lot. And I like him a lot. That doesn’t mean he signed a contract [with Affliction], but I think Tito would love to deal with us."
The wait is finally over for all the Tito fans out there who were questioning whether the former UFC light heavyweight champion was signing with EliteXC or Affliction. Tito will be attending a press conference today (Wednesday, August 6) to discuss the details on the deal that he inked with Affliction. Due to contractural terms, the UFC has the right to match any offer made by any other MMA organization. However, Tito insisted that the UFC would never make such an offer:
"They have the right to match the offer, so I’ll be getting a deal that no other fighter has ever gotten. It’s going to be some ground-breaking news for sure…I’m going to a company that’s going to take care of me, a company that’s going to respect me, a company that’s going to put me in the forefront and make me the ambassador that I’ve always been. I think Mr. Trump respects me at that value to get it."
What we do know for sure is that he’ll be facing Renato "Babalu" Sobral as his first opponent. "Babalu has been in my crosshairs…He’s already been talking smack, saying if he sees me he’s going to kick my ass, but right on if he keeps thinking that. He’ll get his face caved in sooner or later."
Tito seems more than happy to sign with a new organization where he’ll finally get the money he wants, but will he deliver? That’s the question many MMA fans around the world keep asking. However, Tito states that this new deal with Affliction will change him completely as it is "going to be a long-term deal where I put my heart and soul into the company and help build them. That’s something I’m interested in doing." Hopefully he does put his heart and soul like the good old Tito many of us remember.
Tito seems to be a little too happy leaving the UFC and hopefully he doesn’t let that excitement get to him. He already has future plans of having a rematch fight with Frank Shamrock and even states that he "might even go up to heavyweight if the bigger pay days are there." However, Tito needs to start looking for a win as his main priority. He has lost 2 of his last 3 fights in the UFC (He lost to Chuck Liddell at UFC 66, a draw with Rashad Evans at UFC 73 and recently lost to Lyoto Machida at UFC 84. His last win was to Ken Shamrock in October of 2006, almost 2 years ago). A win in his next fight is desperately needed if he wants to stay ahead of the MMA game. With only 33 years of age and 11 years of UFC experience, Tito can easily get that groove going for him once again. We’ll just have to sit back and see what Tito brings to the Affliction ring on October 11th.