by Ken Pishna – MMAWeekly.com
Love him or hate him, it doesn’t matter. As long as he’s in
the room, people talk.
Once the poster boy of the UFC, Tito Ortiz is now on the
outs with the mixed martial arts juggernaut – particularly due to
friction with UFC President Dana White – but that hasn’t stopped him from
Since his loss to Lyoto Machida at UFC 84 in May of last
year, Ortiz has been rumored to be signing with ProElite/EliteXC and
Affliction. Neither came to fruition.
Now he is drawing attention for a likely move to
Ortiz sat ringside as he watched Nick Diaz dismantle Frank
Shamrock on Saturday night in San Jose, Calif.
"(It) was kind of a letdown watching Frank lose,"
he said after the fight. "I wanted that rematch. Thanks Nick, I appreciate
it. It’s like watching money go out the window."
Ortiz lost his title bid to Shamrock nearly a decade ago
when both were leading the charge for the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Although Diaz did away with his hopes for a rematch, Ortiz
was the one to wipe out nearly any possibility of him returning to his old
stomping ground. "The chances of me going back to the UFC are literally
slim to none."
Still a fan favorite, a fighter his following has a place in
most any promotion. Strikeforce is no exception. Company CEO Scott Coker
invited him up to the stage at the post-fight press conference, seemingly
prepping the media (and fans) for a future that includes Ortiz gracing the
Strikeforce cage with his presence.
"I want to thank Strikeforce, Showtime, CBS, Scott
Coker, Ken Hershman, all the rest of the gang for believing in me and giving me
an opportunity to possibly get on free television on CBS and possibly get on
Showtime, possibly a pay-per-view also," said Ortiz,
mentioning a bout with Strikeforce light heavyweight champ Renato
"Babalu" Sobral as a future pay-per-view option.
One stumbling block for Ortiz, besides gaining a definitive
release from his UFC contract, has been a nagging back injury that he had
surgery for last year. But his journey on that front is nearing an end.
"I just got a release from my doctor to start doing my
weight training. I’ve got about another month and a half, two months before I
can start wrestling again," said the former UFC poster boy. "It’s
gonna be great to compete again and be 100-percent."
He told MMAWeekly.com that with his rehab schedule, he hoped
for a return to the cage "sometime around August."
While his future is yet to be determined, Strikeforce would
seem the most appropriate fit for Ortiz. Yet, he has only one declaration to
"I want to get back in the cage and fight."