Tito Ortiz headed to Affliction

by Woody on 6th August 2008

As expected former UFC light heavyweight champion and recent free agent Tito Ortiz has agreed to a contract with Affliction — a deal the 33-year-old called a “ground-breaking record contract.”

Ortiz broke the news to si.com.

Ortiz, who hadn’t signed the deal at the time of the report, said he planned to and that his first fight would be against Renato “Babalu” Sobral at Affliction’s second show, which takes place Oct. 11 at the Thomas & Mack Center on the campus of UNLV in Las Vegas.

MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) previously reported that Sobral has been publicly campaigning for the fight. Soon after his unanimous-decision victory over Mike Whitehead at Affliction’s first show, Sobral also said that Affliction Vice President Tom Atencio had been working to put together the fight with Ortiz — one that Sobral called his “dream fight.”

Ortiz’s final UFC fight came in May at UFC 84. He suffered a unanimous-decision loss to Lyoto Machida to push his record to 0-2-1 in his past three fights.

However, Ortiz remains a top box-office and pay-per-view draw, and he said that Affliction gave him a long-term deal that will keep him involved as both a fighter and executive involved in the company “back work.”

“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,” Ortiz told si.com. “I think (Affliction executive) Mr. (Donald) Trump respects me at that value to get it. My heart’s not with the UFC anymore because of how bad they treated me. They don’t respect me and they don’t see me as a businessman. All they think is that I’m a punk fighter that’s going to fold, and I’ve already proven that I’m not going to fold to anything by not resigning with them.”

Ortiz also hinted that, in addition to Sobral, he wants a rematch with Frank Shamrock. He also said a move up to the heavyweight division, one in which Affliction has half of the world’s top-10 fighters, could happen.

Ortiz credited Affliction executive Donald Trump, whom Ortiz met while a contestant on “The Celebrity Apprentice,” as a major reason he signed with the rookie promotion. He said EliteXC and the American Fight League had also contacted him with offers.

Affliction is hosting a press conference today in Las Vegas. The Ortiz signing could be announced during the event.

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