Tito Ortiz on Thursday said he is healed from his recent injuries and ready to return to fighting. He’s just waiting on Bellator to give him an opponent and a date.
Ortiz fractured his neck while preparing for a Nov. 2 bout against Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, which was supposed to headline Bellator’s first pay-per-view offering. When the bout was nixed due to Ortiz’s injury, so was the pay-per-view.
During Ortiz’s recovery, doctors had warned of the possibility of paralysis if he decided to fight again, but the UFC Hall of Famer told MMAWeekly.com partner Knockout Radio that he is “100-percent healthy” and ready to get back in the cage.
“Everything is good. I’m about my ninth week in training,” said Ortiz. “I’m kind of on hold right now, waiting for Bellator to set me up with a match. I thought I’d be on this pay-per-view that’s coming up, but they wanted to wait.”
The pay-per-view in question is Bellator 120, which is slated for May 17 at the Landers Center in Memphis. The card is headlined by the rubber match between Bellator lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez, who will put his belt on the line against Michael Chandler. Rampage Jackson will also face “King Mo” Lawal in a pay-per-view feature fight.
At this point, it appears Ortiz won’t be a part of the card, but he has let it be known that he’d like to fight again. He’s not ready to retire.
“After my last loss to Forrest Griffin, it left a bad taste in my mouth. No one wants to retire off a loss,” he said.
Ortiz had initially retired following the Griffin loss, but he attributed that decision primarily to struggles in dealing with back surgery and a difficult environment in his home life at the time.
Now, not ready to call the loss the Griffin the final fight of his career, Ortiz has stopped acting as his own negotiator and put the wheels in motion for his representatives to work with Bellator on putting him back in the cage.
“We spoke with [Bellator],” said Ortiz. “I made the mistake with the UFC of trying to be the middleman, I just left it to my attorneys to deal with [Bellator]. I told them that I want to fight. I told them that I’m ready to go. I left it to them to get it done. I’m just training and waiting for the call [to know who and when I’m fighting].”
As for whom Ortiz will face when he returns, that is still very much up in the air. Although a fight with Rampage would still be a considerable draw for Bellator, Ortiz isn’t targeting anyone in particular. He just wants to fight again.
“When they call, I’m ready. Whoever it is, I don’t care.”