Tito Ortiz is one of the UFC’s all-time fighting icons as he has been in the game since UFC 13, held in 1997. From 2000-2003, Tito remained Light Heavyweight Champion as he defended his belt 5 times within those 3 years.
He continues to be one of the UFC’s active veterans and has one of the biggest fan bases in the league. Tito was interviewed and asked if he was going to continue with the UFC now that his last fight on the contract was going to be his rematch against Rashad Evans.
Here’s what Tito had to say (props to Holli Yargo Hearne at ironlife.com):
I’ve actually taken a step, since me and Dana really don’t have a good
working relationship, I’ve gone a step over him. I’m going straight to
Lorenzo Fertitta, the owner of UFC and I’ll speak with him. He’s a very
smart businessman and he looks out for my best interest and I’m excited
I’ll be re-signing with the UFC and they gave me what I want. I know a
lot of other companies that are asking about me and I can’t count how
many phone calls I’ve said “I can’t talk to you guys anymore,” because
it’s against my contract. I’ve got guys literally who have called me
and they’ve said, “Is this Tito?” And I’ve said, “Yes.” And they’ll
say, “This is so and so.” And I’ll have to stop them right there and
tell them, “Oh, let me stop you there. I can’t talk to you no more.”
It’s just one of those things. I think if you look at the history of
Ultimate Fighting Championship, and you look at a person or a fighter
who’s made more money for the company than any other fighter in the
world, my name’s going to be right on top of all those names, way past
Liddell, way past Couture because I’ve had a huge draw and a huge fan
base that still support me 100%, win, lose, or draw…I mean, even for ticket sales for the fights at the
gate. We’ve sold out almost everyone one of the houses that I’ve ever
fought in. It just shows how powerful my fans are, how much support
they give me and how much I love them.
With Tito Ortiz’s popularity, his name alone brings in huge UFC pay per view sales. Why wouldn’t they re-sign him? It’s all about the money! $$$$$