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MMA Twitter Mailbag: UFC on ESPN, Tito Ortiz, Ricardo Arona, Fedor

Our latest MMA Twitter mailbag delves into the potential for a relationship between the UFC and ESPN, the possibility that Tito Ortiz will return to the Octagon, the whereabouts of Ricardo Arona and still more about what's going on with Fedor Emelianenko after Affliction Trilogy was canceled.

The mailbag is below.

MMAjunkieDann: Think you might be surprised RE: Skipper. More there than just simple visit. I think we'll find out more at July 31 presser
This came in response to my tweet saying people shouldn't read too much into the fact that ESPN executive John Skipper attended UFC 100.

I first learned that Skipper had attended UFC 100 on July 16, when I heard UFC President Dana White talking about it on Dan LeBatard's radio show. I checked with someone at ESPN who confirmed that Skipper was there, and that ESPN is keeping its eyes on MMA, but added that Skipper attends sporting events all the time and that his attendance at any single sporting event isn't necessarily a sign of anything.

So that's why I didn't write anything at the time, and that's why I was surprised a week later when I started to hear from people in the MMA community who think a UFC-ESPN partnership is imminent. I don't think it's going to happen, but White did promise something big at his July 31 press conference, so we shall see.

HakaLaw What's the deal with Dana White just Tweeting "Welcome back Tito?"
White suggested on Twitter that Tito Ortiz was back. But in a radio interview shortly afterward, White would say only that it's "a possibility." Personally, I think we will see Ortiz back in the Octagon. The UFC and Tito can make more money together than they can apart -- and anyway, I don't think White was ever really 100% opposed to Tito returning to the UFC. The people White really despises -- like Matt Lindland -- he just ignores. I think White had fun with his feud with Ortiz, but now that Ortiz is finally healthy and ready to fight again, White recognizes that Ortiz can be a valuable asset to his company.

mizzark: Any news on whether Ricardo Arona is signing with any promotion?
Arona, the former Pride star who hasn't fought in more than two years, is finally supposed to get back into action on September 12 against
Marvin Eastman on a Bitetti Combat card in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Amazingly, Affliction considered Arona as a possible opponent for Fedor Emelianenko after Josh Barnett failed a drug test. That would have been a disastrous decision; MMA fans would have scoffed at the matchmaking, and Fedor would have destroyed Arona.

odedh82: M-1 Russian site reports a problem with the legality of Barnett's test, and say the fight might still be on.
I saw a translation of the statement that Fedor's promoter, M-1, made about possibly challenging Barnett's test. I suppose anything is possible, but I don't see it happening.

beewsee: Great call on Fedor vs. Fabricio Werdum possibly happening on Aug. 15th. I wonder if they would switch that to the main event?
I love Gina Carano vs. Cris Cyborg as the main event of the upcoming Strikeforce show, but in the unlikely event that Strikeforce gets Fedor on the card, I think a Fedor fight has to become the main event. I don't think the best fighter in the world should fight on an undercard.

Want to be part of our next MMA Twitter mailbag? Post a question or comment on Twitter.com, and be sure to start it with @MichaelDavSmith.