by Tom Hamlin – MMAWeekly.com
Former UFC light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz is not out of the Octagon just yet.
Despite several published reports of Ortiz’s whereabouts, Affliction Vice President Tom Atencio today told MMAWeekly.com that he has not signed the popular UFC fighter. Atencio claims that Ortiz’s promotional contract with the Las Vegas based company precludes that.
“I can’t talk to Tito until after August 3rd,” Atencio says. “Everybody just wants to read into it and put whatever they want on the internet.”
Atencio says he is still hard at work confirming the venue for the proposed October 11th date. At this point, most of the card is still a work in progress—including a main event showdown between Andre Arlovski and Fedor Emelianenko.
Ortiz, 33, and UFC president Dana White have had a much-publicized war of words over the past year. Ortiz gave numerous interviews decrying the UFC’s lack of respect for him, while White told a teleconference of reporters gathered for UFC 84 that he no longer wanted to be in “the Tito Ortiz business.”
In a May interview with MMAWeekly Radio, Ortiz said his fight with Lyoto Machida at UFC 84 was his last for Zuffa, and hoped to have fight set up by “September or October.”
“Me going to somewhere else is 100% happening,” said Ortiz.
Atencio hopes to have announcement next week confirming the second show and main events of its card.
“I hate to use the phrase ‘up in the air,’ but it’s in the works is a better term,” Atencio says.