Originally Posted by MMARATED
Tito Ortiz's UFC contract officially expired on August 4th. The next day, SI.com reported that Ortiz had signed a ground-breaking deal with Affliction. Several hours later, they changed the story to state that the former light heavyweight champion was on the verge of signing the contract. 43 days later, we still have no clue as to where and when Ortiz will fight next.
Every couple of days, Ortiz will pop up in some interview, insult Dana White, tell us he's been in this sport for eleven years and that it's finally time for him to get paid. Seriously, I know his speech off by heart at this point.
Recently, Ortiz was a guest on HDNet's "Inside MMA" and, once again, regurgitated the same song and dance about how he was ready to collect. However, when we spoke to Affliction COO, Michael D. Cohen, last month about Ortiz's demands, he flat out said that neither Affliction nor any other fight promotion will pay Ortiz what he wants.
I wonder if he was also referring to the American Fight League?
Recent reports have stated that Ortiz has been in negotiations with the fledgling promotion and, quite frankly, this is the only organization I can see paying Ortiz what he wants or at least close enough to it.
Believe it or not, the AFL is still actually planning on producing a pay-per-view event in November. We know this because they recently signed female star Tara LaRosa and former WWE champion, Bobby Lashley, to fight on this show. I actually had to check their website to find out when and where this show is taking place (November 8th at the UIC Center in Chicago, IL), but came up short when trying to find one(!) signed fight for that card.
Nice start. The fact that they haven't started promoting this event is scary enough but even more troublesome is the date they chose for two good reasons:
1) It's the same night as an EliteXC Showtime event and while - surprise - we don't know who will be fighting on that card it's hard for pay-per-view to compete with a free show especially when the free show features the more established brand.
2) It's seven days before what may go down as the highest-grossing PPV in MMA history: UFC 91. Something tells me fans will be saving their money for that one.
All that said, the AFL will need to do something to try and get our attention and their best bet lies in the form of Tito Ortiz because, given their bleak financial situations, I just can't envision EliteXC or Affliction breaking the bank for Ortiz. I also believe that the UFC dream is officially dead.
So, that leaves this upstart Kentucky-based promotion that we really know nothing about. Well, we do know that they are trying to develop the first MMA farm system which may sound like a good idea on paper but will never work in the same way the team concept didn't work for the IFL.
We've also learned that the AFL is currently seeking investors and have used Ortiz as a strong selling point in their pitch. AFL representatives have met with Ortiz several times in the last month (one time immediately following a meeting with the Fertittas) so they certainly are in the game.
"The Huntington Beach Bad Boy" claims we will learn his fate by the end of the month. You may not care at this point, but if you do, we think he's AFL-bound. That may get the MMA community talking for a day or two, but the AFL and Tito Ortiz will need a lot more than each other to remain relevant.