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Morning Report: Tito Ortiz hoping for 500K PPV buys for trilogy fight with Chuck Liddell

Bellator 170 photos
Tito Ortiz “buries” Chael Sonnen
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

For the last few months, a rumored third fight between Tito Ortiz and Chuck Liddell has been coming closer to fruition. What first began as playful exchanges over social media turned into a groundswell of support for the two legends to un-retire and lock horns one again. Now, with Oscar De La Hoya backing them, Ortiz says the fight is just waiting on Liddell to sign on the dotted line.

“The fight’s not official, but yeah, I started working out for almost a month and a half,” Ortiz told Submission Radio recently. “My body feels great, I’ve bounced back faster than I expected, which is great. But I feel good, man, I’m anxious. I’m just waiting on Chuck Liddell’s side to kind of sign the contract, get this done. So, it’s just a matter of time.”

“I think Chuck’s kind of holding out, trying to make more money out of it, which it just doesn’t make sense because this deal is pretty much a cut and dry contract. We’re both partners. De La Hoya wants his 40 percent and me and Chuck Liddell get to split 30 percent. So that’s on complete revenue of the whole fight in general. And this is the whole thing that I’ve been waiting for for such a long time in mixed martial arts, to really make a difference, and we’re gonna do that with De La Hoya and Golden Boy Promotions.”

Ortiz and Liddell had a pair of fights in the UFC with Liddell winning both by TKO. More importantly than the outcome though, the fights elevated MMA to a level the sport had not yet seen, with their rematch at UFC 66 becoming the first UFC event to draw over 1 million pay-per-view buys. Now, over a decade late, Ortiz believes a trilogy fight can still command an impressive PPV buy rate.

“I talked to some of the guys like Sean Shelby, some of the other promoters, and they said, ‘you guys have a possibility of doing some really great numbers because people don’t know what to expect,’” Ortiz said. “So what’s the magic number? Is it over 500,000? Will we meet that million number that we did last time me and Chuck fought? You know, we did over 1.4 million pay-per-view buys. If we fall right in the middle of that, I would be happy.”

It’s not just about the possibility of a prodigious payday though, at least not for Ortiz. When asked why he has been so dead set on making a third fight with Liddell happen, the former UFC light heavyweight champion says he wants a crack at redemption where the cards aren’t stacked against him.

“It’s always bothered me a whole bunch” Ortiz explained. “People don’t understand, they don’t know the whole story behind that . . . They sold something on television that was what people wanted to see and not what the truth was. And the truth was that I was injured, I had to have neck surgery. It wasn’t like I had to have a couple of stiches in my face or I had a concussion or I hurt my elbow, I had to have neck surgery. They had to fuse my neck and I ended up coming back and I fought, and I fought many times after that. But it was just one of those things, I think it was a picture that was painted the wrong way. I think it wasn’t the truth. Now I have an opportunity for redemption against Chuck Liddell on my terms.

“Let’s fight on our terms, not on the UFC’s terms, not on your terms when Dana and the UFC were against me, let’s do it where everything’s on my side now. Let’s do it where everything’s in my court and I’m able to push the buttons, not him or Dana.”

Ortiz and Liddell are both retired from MMA but Ortiz had a more graceful exit from the sport, retiring last year after submitting Chael Sonnen at Bellator 170. Conversely, Liddell exited the sport in 2010, having lost his final three fights, all of them by knockout. Ortiz plans to make it four in a row to earn his redemption.

“I really have dreamt about it, I thought about it, I’ve gone over in my head, over and over and over and over again,” Ortiz concluded. “It’s just put the pressure on him, put the pressure on him and catch him within the second round with my hands. It’s either going to be a left hook or a right hand, one or the other.”

“It’s gonna happen. This fight is gonna happen. It’s just a matter of time. Chuck Liddell, come on, buddy, stop asking for pennies, man. You’re stepping over dollars, looking for pennies. Let’s sign this fight, let’s get it done so that we can give all the fans 25 years of UFC.”


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2001: At UFC 32, Tito Ortiz stopped Elvis Sinosic to successfully defend his light heavyweight championship. This even is notable for being the debut of the light heavyweight title (previously billed as the middleweight title) as well as the being the last appearance of long-time UFC commentator Jeff Blatnik.


There’s a Bellator title fight tonight, so everyone enjoy and we’ll see y’all back here on Monday.



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