Tito Ortiz Returns To The UFC

October 12, 2010
By Ross Everett

According to the old saying time heals all wounds. In the fight game, money"or the potential of it"has the same curative effect. The latest evidence of this is the announcement that Tito Ortiz has patched things up with Dana White and agreed to a new contract to fight in the UFC. Tito left the promotion over a year ago after an acrimonious split with White, though never found a new promotional home that would give him the money and the high profile status that he craved.

Ortiz has had several run ins with the UFC over their notoriously tight pay structure, and first left the promotion in 2005. He was back later that year for a run as a coach on The Ultimate Fighter against longtime rival Ken Shamrock. After losing to current light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida in his last UFC appearance, Ortiz left the company and bounced around doing personal appearances and commentary for a variety of promotions. He had surgery on his back in the process, and now claims that hes back to 100%.

Tito may never regain his championship form as a fighter, but that is of minimal relevance due to one salient fact"people will pay to see him fight.. Ortiz is a fighter that offers no middle ground of public opinion, as people either love him or hate him. That dynamic is box office and PPV gold, a fact not lost on the savvy UFC brass. Dana White noted this fact in his comments on Ortiz at a Friday press conference in Las Vegas:

"Tito and I have a history that everyone knows. He's still a guy that everyone wants to see fight. He said his back has healed perfectly and he's ready to take a shot at the title. He's one of those guys that people love and people love to hate. We've put all our differences aside, have squashed everything and will move forward, and Tito will retire in the UFC."

To which Ortiz offered this response:

"Time really cures everything. Dana was a man of his word. Dana apologized to me. We're like boyfriend and girlfriend."

Ortiz said that Dana White and UFC co-owner Lorenzo Fertitta came to his home in Huntington Beach, California and made him an offer he couldn't turn down:

"I'm happy, I'm satisfied, You'll never hear anything about money again.

While neither Ortiz nor White would speculate on a timetable for his debut or his first opponents, sources suggest that he could debut on the UFCs New Years card against Mark Coleman. Coleman is coming off a unanimous decision victory over Stephan Bonnar at UFC 100 in mid July.

Though he may be past his prime as a fighter, Tito Ortiz is a star. Some love him, some hate him but people pay to watch him fight. That dynamic is money in the bank to a fight promoter.

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