Tito Ortiz’s Fighting Future in Question, Specialist Says Paralysis Possible If Allowed to Fight

January 21, 2014
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Tito OrtizOn July 31, 2013, former UFC light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz signed with Bellator MMA. He was scheduled to face fellow former UFC titleholder Quinton “Rampage” Jackson in the promotion’s first pay-per-view event in November. On Oct. 25, it was announced that Ortiz was forced out of the match-up due to a neck injury. The pay-per-view never materialized and Ortiz’s fighting future remains uncertain.

“Tito is still with us. I’ve got to sit down and really download with Tito,” said Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney during a media conference call on Monday. “When I initially got on the phone with the doctors, and Tito announced to us that he had fractured his neck, that was and is the primary concern. There’s not a substantive answer at this point to whether he’s going to come back.”

Ortiz fractured his neck while preparing for the Nov. 2 bout, and the injury could be career ending.

“We’re having discussions with him. The key was to get 120-percent healed,” said Rebney. “It’s an unsettling conversation to have a specialist in the field of neck injuries to tell you that with the right kind of drop on the head, or the right kind of impact on the spine, paralysis could be a result. That’s never a good conversation: A) for a world class althete, but B) it’s never a good conversation for the person in my position charged with putting that person inside of a cage to fight against top tier competition.”

Facing the potential of paralysis, it seems unlikely that Ortiz will fight again. Although, it may not be probable, a return is still a possibility. Crazier things have happened.

“The concern is still there, but just like any kind of injury, or just like any kind of break, he may be able to come back from it,” said Rebney. “And if he is able to come back from it, we’ll relight the fuse and figure out what the steps are to get him into the cage. But right now there isn’t a definitive answer in terms of when he could come back.”

Ortiz’s contract is basically on hold until a time where he’s healthy enough to return, if that ever comes to fruition.

“If a fighter becomes injured, or is unable to compete, it’s what’s called tolling. The contract basically stops until such time as the fighter can compete. And when the fighter can compete and is 100-percent cleared then everything reignites and starts up again. It’s almost like time stops as the fighter recuperates from an injury or gets to a position to where he can compete again,” explained the Bellator CEO.

“Tito and I have got to sit down, work through it, talk about it, and if he is going to get back inside the cage, which is a distinct possibility, figure out what the best launch pad is and how he’d want to do that and what makes sense,” added Rebney.

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  • Shartnado2, the Sloppy One

    Move on Tito, we have.

  • TheCerealKiller

    “We’re having discussions with him. The key was to get 120-percent healed,”

    Well, that’s it then. He’ll never be “120%” healed.

  • Tito’s going to break his vagina again if he gets into the octagon one last time

  • drkdisciple

    120% healed ? ….wow that doesn’t make any sense, Rebney is a bigger clown then i thought!

  • Big Tuna

    Raise your boys stop fighting so they aren’t totally messed up considering mom is a ringer.

  • David Huenecke

    I agree. If he did in fact fracture his neck I dont see him competing again. Not that I even really cared but it wouldve been nice to see him fight one last time. Also didnt he just get a DUI after wrecking his car?

  • bambeke

    The Dude isn’t worth the airtime. You had your run ‘Teets’…now funk – off.

  • put me in the sauna coach

    He’s basically retired anyways…who cares.

  • The Best Eva

    Time to hang em up and move on, maybe become a coach or something make his own legit team.

  • Mark McDowall

    How could anyone be that dumb to actually want to fight after your doctor says there’s a chance you could end up paralyzed/dead if you do?!?! I’m sure his up coming DUI case and repairs to his Porsche will be a bit pricey but I don’t think the risks out way the rewards.

    I’m sure Bellator is really loving their decision to spend an ass ton of money on him and Rampage now!

  • Tyrkin

    “dumb, who cares, not worth the airtime, vagina, we’ve moved on” and hating on his wife? Really?

    You folks are reading and posting on an MMA forum. this sport wouldn’t exist in its current form, have the level of talent it currently has, without legends like Tito.

    Why would he want to step into the cage again? Because he’s a fighter. He’s devoted his entire adult life to this craft, to this sacrifice. Fighters want to fight until they die – that drive is what made him great and so influential in the sport in the first place.

    I’m betting not one of you armchair analysts has ever been in the cage or spent any time around fighters. The reasons he wants to fight despite injury are the reasons he deserves your respect and why we should never write off fighters after they’ve passed their prime.

    Getting into the cage is always dumb, always risk grievous injury, death, long term chronic health issues ( dementia, paralysis.) Being on an MMA forum, you should be grateful some men find other things to devote their lives to other than criticizing braver men on internet forums that they ought to exalt.

    I’m guessing you folks also spent considerable time giggling at Anderson’s injury and whining about GSP’s rights to retire (while whining about his boring style.)

    Fans like you don’t deserve the sport.