The decision has been made.
Former UFC light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz has shifted gears and accepted the fight with Rashad Evans on the UFC 133 fight card in Philadelphia on Aug. 6.
UFC president Dana White confirmed the bout on Wednesday afternoon.
Speaking with MMAWeekly.com on Wednesday, Ortiz admitted that it was a tough decision for him to make, but ultimately it came down to doing what was right for the UFC and for his fans.
“I’m kind of like do I do it for the company? Do I do it for myself? Do I do it for my fans? Or do I step back and wait for the right time and everything? I went through a camp that was really, really good. After the fight (against Ryan Bader), I took a little time off, and to correct you, it’s actually two weeks of training and a week of doing the PR stuff for the fight, so it’s putting in two weeks of hard work and could I pull it off?” Ortiz told MMAWeekly Radio.
“I made kind of a soft decision yesterday of saying I have to live a life, I’ve got to take care of my family at home, I have a business Punishment Athletics, I have a gym Punishment Training Center that’s doing really, really well right now, my nutrition line Punishment Nutrition that I just launched in July. I have so much business opportunities come about, but can I catapult this even more and continue this Cinderella story by taking this fight against Rashad Evans?”
Now that he’s made that decision, Ortiz will step in on three weeks notice to take the fight against Evans in the main event of UFC 133.
Ortiz knew that everyone was hopeful he would take the fight after the buzz of him initially turning down the bout hit the internet.
“It’s kind of funny because people care more about me coming and stepping in the fight and fighting than they care about Mr. Wonderful (Phil Davis) pulling out of the fight. (Lyoto) Machida denied the fight and people don’t care about that. All of a sudden everyone’s caring about me that Dana said I said no to a fight,” Ortiz said. “When he asked me, at the time, I was still basking in my glory of having my win, and I don’t really want to be overshined by the win I had by taking a fight on a two-week notice.”
Ultimately, Ortiz has opted to accept the fight and will rematch Rashad Evans in Philadelphia. Still riding the high from his last fight and win over Ryan Bader, Ortiz says he’s far from being done.
“Hopefully everybody will be happy. I’m happy; my camp’s happy. The future will hold great things for me, and this Cinderella story is not over yet,” said Ortiz.
“The UFC has been my livelihood since day one, before the Fertittas even bought the company. I was the champion and my life and soul was the Ultimate Fighting Championship. I’ve been one of the biggest promoters of the UFC, promoting it and help put it on the map, and thanks to all my fans who do support me.”
As for the match-up, Ortiz will face Evans for the second time when they meet at UFC 133. Ortiz and Evans first fought at UFC 73 in July 2007.
The fight ended in a draw after a point deduction from Ortiz’s score cost him a round. He’s wanted the rematch ever since.
“I’ve always wanted that fight against Rashad,” Ortiz stated. “He’s had a great camp, I’ve heard, over the last eight weeks or nine weeks. I know he hasn’t fought in over a year, and I really hope I make the right decision.”
Ortiz and Evans will square off in the main event of UFC 133 on Aug. 6 in Philadelphia.
Damon Martin is the lead staff writer and radio host for MMAWeekly.com.
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