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Fightweets: Tito Ortiz on Cyborg Santos: 'I don't want her dying' in weight cut

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Ethan Miller

You didn't expect UFC Hall of Famer Tito Ortiz to disappear from the scene just because he retired from active competition, did you?

Among other post-career ventures, Ortiz has added fighter management to his plate. His biggest client at the moment is San Diego-based Cristiane "Cyborg" Santos, the former Stikeforce women's featherweight champion.

A potential fight between Santos and current UFC bantamweight champ Ronda Rousey is the biggest-money women's fight on the horizon. But Ortiz, who attended Thursday night's Bellator card in Irvine, Calif., near his hometown of Huntington Beach, says the biggest obstacle remains the weight at which the superfight would be contested.

"She wants the fight with Ronda, but the biggest challenge and the biggest obstacle for us is getting down to 135," Ortiz said. "You know, Ronda's fought at 145 for her whole career besides her last fights, and ‘Cyborg's' fought her whole career at 145. She doesn't know what it feels like to get down to 135."

Ortiz said that while he has been cutting weight since his amateur wrestling days, the amount of Santos would have to cut, as a woman, makes getting down to 135 more of a challenge.

"For a woman, it's very difficult," Ortiz said. "For a man it's easier. There's no fat on that woman. She walks at 170, 172, naturally, and for her to cut down for 135 for that one, its physically unhealthy. As a former UFC fighter, wrestler, I've been cutting weight for over 20 years and I've been dieting for over 20 years. I feed myself, I do my own diet, I did the right things in my career to cut the weight. There's times in my career where I cut 25 pounds for weight, but as a man, that's OK, because I can have three percent body fat. For a woman, that's unhealthy. A woman can't be under 12 percent body fat. Because for them, they're missing their menstrual cycles."

Ortiz has hired Mike Dolce, creator of the famed Dolce Diet, to help Santos try to make the cut. But if it doesn't work out, Ortiz says he doesn't want to force "Cyborg" to make an unhealthy decision.

"I want to make sure as a manager to make the right decision for my fighters' future, health wise," Ortiz said. "I don't want her dying because of cutting too much weight, we've seen that happen before in college wrestling. I want to make sure that doesn't happen under the UFC, someone under my wing, under my name, I don't want that to happen. If UFC can make it happen, Mike Dolce can make it happen, Cris Cyborg is going to fight Ronda Rousey. "

With that, on to the latest edition of Fightweets. If you'd like to be considered for the next edition, go to my Twitter page and drop me a line.

Michael Bisping

@Randy Chias: Do you think that @bisping is the most underrated fighters in the UFC?

Actually, I think Michael Bisping's perfectly rated at the moment. Five wins in his last six fights, with the only loss to the guy (Chael Sonnen) who beat everyone else at middleweight except the champ. That's enough to put him where he is, in a bout against Vitor Belfort on Saturday to determine whether he'll get a title shot. That's neither overrated nor underrated.

@JonathanShrager: As a Brit, I'd like to know if u think Bisping has a genuine chance vs Silva, should he beat Belfort?

I wouldn't bet the house on it, mate. Bisping's had a nice run and I think he's going to beat Belfort. Bisping is Anderson Silva's most bankable title contender at middleweight and Bisping will manage to talk it up into one of the bigger-selling fights of 2013. But, as Belfort, Stephan Bonnar, Forrest Griffin, etc. can attest, then fun will end when Silva decides to stop playing around after the first few minutes of the fight and get serious.

Bellator's start time

@EricArsenal: With a 10E/P start time for Bellator on Spike on a work/school night how soon will they change times if ME's get poor ratings?

Spike is going with the same formula that broke The Ultimate Fighter in 2005. Back then, it was TUF airing after World Wrestling Entertainment's Monday Night Raw. Nowadays, it's TNA wrestling. TUF became an instant hit as wrestling fans stuck around in large enough numbers (not to mention MMA fans, who finally had fights to watch on basic cable) to make the show work.

Will it work this time? TNA is the second-tier wrestling company, but it's still Spike's biggest-drawing show. I guess we'll have our answers soon enough with the ratings over the next few weeks. But Bellator's in its current time slot because Spike's going with what has already worked.

If anything, I think the tape delay to the West Coast, where several of MMA's highest-rated markets reside, is going to cause friction. It's 2013. Fans don't want tape-delayed fights in an age where you can't live without social media, but can't go on social media without seeing the results. I already got annoyed feedback on my Twitter timeline last night from West Coast fans. Tape delaying fights to a big portion of the audience is a bigger deal than the time slot itself.

Chris Weidman a hype?

@Orderx7: Weidman has beaten two top 10mw one is now a ww and the other, who knows when he'll compete again. Why the hype?

Umm ... you know the reason why the other guy, Mark Munoz, is in "who knows when he'll fight again" condition is specifically because of what Weidman did to him, right? Look, I reject the notion some still try to push the Weidman is the clear-cut number one contender at this point, but he's well on his way and he's no hype job.

DC the fatty

@ElCujorino: do you think it is realistic for Cormier to make 205 with how fat he is?

Wow. Tell you what, you go tell Daniel Cormier he's fat, then report back to me on how that works out for you. This is a guy who competed in the Olympics at 211 pounds. Granted, he's 33 now, but he should have no real problem making 205.

Bloody elbows

@Christopherkit: If UFC was to dilute the rules what could they do? Take out elbows on the ground for less cuts n blood?

UFC isn't going to change the rules. The Unified Rules are overseen by the Association of Boxing Commissions and Zuffa has strictly followed their guidelines ("We're overseen by the government!") on everything from the unified rules to drug testing procedures. Of course, that hasn't stopped other promotions, like the Scott Coker-era Strikeforce and the recent World Series of Fighting show, from banning ground elbows.

That said, I completely disagree with the idea of taking away elbows on the ground. The thought behind it is the gore from elbow cuts is too much of a turnoff. Tell me, who exactly is suddenly going to become an MMA fan if they take away ground elbows? You'd still have a sport with brutal knockouts, occasional snapped limbs, and, yeah, there have been some pretty gruesome cuts opened over the years strictly through standup striking. Are you really telling me there are throngs of people out there who are OK with Silva's standup mauling of Rich Franklin, Kimbo Slice making James Thompson's ear explode, and Frank Mir snapping Antonio Rodrigo Nogueria's arm, but won't watch MMA because of the elbow Jim Miller laid on Joe Lauzon? Sorry, I'm not buying this one. MMA without ground elbows simply isn't MMA.

Does Gilbert Melendez have a chance?

@8ricky6: I know every LW has a chance, but do you really think Melendez has a shot at taking the belt?

If the Melendez who showed off the standup power and efficiency he displayed against Tatsuya Kawajiri shows up to fight Ben Henderson in San Jose on April 20, then, yes, we've got ourselves a fight. The big question is whether Melendez has basically idled away his prime in the interceding two years. If the "El Nino" who was soured by 2012 hasn't killed off the Melendez of 2009-11, then we have a potential Fight of the Year on our hands. But if the Melendez who fought Jorge Masvidal steps into the Octagon, Melendez isn't likely to fare any better than his Skrap Pack running buddy, Nate Diaz. We'll see.

Bellator tourneys

@Spencerkyte: Can you name 4 fighters from each Bellator tournament without looking? If no, what does that say about chances?

Well, no, but, isn't that sort of the point? New stars don't just materialize out of thin air. Both Bellator champs who defended their title on Thursday night, Michael Chandler and Pat Curran, raised their profiles through winning Bellator tourneys. So did Eddie Alvarez, who sure didn't have multiple suitors throwing big money at him before he was in Bellator. When you strip away the alcohol, vomit, and all the rest, what's The Ultimate Fighter but a tournament of unknowns, anyway?