by Ivan Trembow – MMAWeekly.com
(Tito Ortiz photo courtesy of Spike TV)
Tito Ortiz will be the subject of the UFC’s next “All Access” special on Spike TV. While previous episodes focused on Rich Franklin and Andrei Arlovski, the newest edition of UFC All Access will focus on Ortiz’ preparation for his upcoming fight with Ken Shamrock.
Hosted by Rachelle Leah, the 30-minute special will premiere on Monday, July 3rd at 10:00 PM. Immediately following the Tito Ortiz episode of UFC All Access on July 3rd will be the UFC 61 countdown special, which will air from 10:30 PM to 11:30 PM.
Though the advent of Spike TV exposure in 2005 resulted in a large boost in pay-per-view sales for the UFC, the first half of 2006 has seen an even bigger increase in PPV sales, due in part to the “All Access” specials and PPV countdown shows, which are focused entirely on selling pay-per-views.
In the past, these shows have been well produced and have done an excellent job of convincing potential PPV buyers than the overwhelming underdog in the main event actually has a good chance of winning, with the UFC 60 countdown special as the most obvious example.
The airing of the PPV-selling shows on Spike TV is regarded as Spike throwing Zuffa a bone, due to the fact that Spike doesn’t directly benefit from the PPV countdown shows. While any given episode of UFC Unleashed or The Ultimate Fighter encourages viewers to watch more of the UFC on Spike TV, the PPV countdown shows are solely about PPV promotion. In exchange for getting to air PPV trailers in primetime on Spike TV, the usual rights fee that Spike normally pays Zuffa is not in effect for the PPV preview shows.
With Chuck Liddell sure to be the favorite in his upcoming fight against Renato “Babalu” Sobral, and with Tito Ortiz as the overwhelming favorite against Ken Shamrock, Zuffa’s tentative plan in the light heavyweight division is for Liddell and Ortiz to fight for the Light Heavyweight Title at the end of 2006 or beginning of 2007, assuming that Liddell and Ortiz win their upcoming fights, as is hoped.
The president of the UFC, Dana White, didn’t exactly deny the plans for a Liddell-Ortiz rematch when he was recently asked by the Canadian Press, as he responded by saying, “We’ll see what happens with Ken and Tito… everyone would love to see Tito and Chuck fight again.” Also, Tito Ortiz has claimed publicly in the past that his UFC contract says that if he were to beat Forrest Griffin and Ken Shamrock in the first two fights on his three-fight UFC contract, then the third fight would be a title shot.
Ortiz vs. Shamrock will take place at UFC 61 on July 8th in Las Vegas, Nevada. Liddell vs. Sobral will take place at UFC 62 on August 26th and will also be in Las Vegas.