by Ken Pishna – MMAWeekly.com
Could it be? On the same day that Tiger Woods missed the cut for only the second time in his professional golfing career, it appears that hell may just have frozen over.
Apparently, the longstanding feud between former UFC light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz and UFC president Dana White is over.
“I wanted to be a man and squash things between me and him… he did the same to me. Dana showed the type of person he is by apologizing to me and vice versa,” said Ortiz on Thursday’s edition of Tapout Radio.
Saying that he is still in negotiations with Strikeforce, Ortiz also noted that Affliction or even a return to the UFC were not yet “out of the picture” and he is relishing his role as a free agent.
White confirmed Ortiz’ comments, posting on his official Twitter account, “Yes, Tito and I made up.”
Although White fell short of saying that his arms were open to a Tito Ortiz return to the Octagon. “Doesn’t mean he’s back,” posted the brash executive. “It means we aren’t smashing each other anymore and we don’t hate each other.”
Of course, it’s not out of the realm of possibility, since they have obviously upgraded their status from “Extreme Danger” to “Caution,” that Ortiz could find his way back into the Octagon.
Since leaving the UFC following a loss to current champion Lyoto Machida, Ortiz has been in negotiations, first with the now defunct EliteXC, then Affliction, and most recently, Strikeforce.
In fact, less than three weeks ago in an interview with MMAWeekly.com, Ortiz sounded as if Strikeforce was all but a done deal.
“I’m in negotiations right now with Strikeforce and working with CBS and Showtime, so all three of us are going back and forth to make a contract that makes sense to me,” he revealed at the time.
“Hopefully by October I’ll be competing. We’re finishing the contract I’d say with CBS, Showtime, and Strikeforce and making a deal that UFC can’t match.”
With the UFC’s worth being estimated at more than a billion dollars, it wouldn’t seem that much would be out of the juggernaught’s reach, other than a network television deal.
“I managed to come off a huge back surgery. It’s been a year since I’ve competed. I think one warm-up fight to get things going,” Ortiz said in the MMAWeekly.com interview. “After that, I don’t want no more warm-up fights. I’m hoping by my fourth fight, possibly fight Fedor Emelianenko at a catchweight. That’d be something that I’m looking forward to possibly by the middle of next year.”
That’s one other element that the UFC currently can’t deliver, Fedor. But the promotion is maxing out many of its top stars with most of its events booked out until October, with the notable absence of a headline bout for its Sept. 19 landing in Dallas. And love him or hate him, Ortiz has a legion of followers and the UFC history that makes him an acceptable headliner or, at the least, a feature bout.
Of course, all of that is pure speculation as neither Ortiz nor White was available for comment – outside of their Twitter posts – at the time of publication. For now, all we know is that one of the most entertaining feuds in MMA history is winding down.
(Editor’s Note: References to Tito Ortiz’ statements on Twitter have been removed as the validity of the referenced account is being challenged.)