Something unexpected has come up. I’m not going to be able to keep this journal here anymore. I’ll be shutting it down for good later this week, but before I do, I’m going to try to get everyone caught up on what has led to this. I have some stories to tell, and some pictures to post up.
Brent and I are going to try to drive the Land Cruiser over the mountain range tomorrow, from Vegas to Pahrump…. We’re going to load up our warm clothes, some food, a camera, and a spare gas can, and just go for it. I’m hoping we can get it done in one day, and I hope we make it back in one piece.
I’ll start catching the journal up when I get back from the mountains.
Ben Zeidler over at MMA Madness has posted an interview with Tito Ortiz in which Tito addresses his future:
MMA Madness: And on that note, can you tell us what’s next for you?
Tito Ortiz: Well, nothing official yet. As soon as this fight is over, I have a 30-day waiting period before I can negotiate.
MMA Madness: Which organizations are you interested in?
Tito Ortiz: Definitely EliteXC. Affliction seems to be building up well. And they just started with DREAM in Japan. Any organization that will respect me and promote me as the champion that I am.
MMA Madness: And of these organizations you’re interested in, which have contacted you?
Tito Ortiz: All of them have contacted me, but I can’t negotiate yet.
I think a lot of people are expecting Tito to fight and within 24 hours announce that he has signed with EXC, Affliction or DREAM. In reality he can’t even begin negotiations with any non-UFC promotion until 30 days after the fight. Knowing how difficult Tito can be at the table when it comes to getting a contract he likes I’m going to say it’ll be July or August before we know what his next move is.
There really aren’t a lot of attractive non-UFC fights at light heavy outside of Frank Shamrock or Cung Le (who would each have to be willing to move up to 205…which may not be doable for Le). Tito says in the interview that he’d consider bulking up and fighting Fedor or Kimbo also. I think the smart path would be for him to take a deal with EXC and fight Le or Shamrock on a joint promoted card. From there if he really wants to bulk up he could take on Strikeforce’s heavyweight champion in Alistair Overeem as a “testing the waters” bout…this is also a fairly safe bout as Ortiz would likely be able to get the fight to the ground and pound out a win. From there you can try to work a possible big money fight with Kimbo.
Fantasy matchmaking on my part to be sure, but it’s a path that is doable, profitable and fairly safe route for Tito.
Let’s get something straight: a fight between Frank Mir and Big Nog is barely interesting enough to carry a PPV on it’s own, let alone an entire season of TUF. As for the argument that TUF exposure is a great way for Nog to become popular, that’s ass backwards thinking. Sticking a relatively unknown guy on TUF is just going to result in less people giving a shit about it. And it’s not like Nog just needs a showcase for his shining personality. The guy looks / acts like a big lumbering Frankenstein. For all the excitement he creates in the ring, he’s duller than matte paint in real life.
For the record, I think this season is terrible and that’s with two coaches who are good on camera, legitimate MMA stars and generally amiable and funny guys. If this format can’t even work with them at the helm, I seriously doubt Mir and Noguiera is going to be any better (or even as good).
Look, the show – in its current format – has jumped the shark. I think there are a host of reasons for this, but part of it is that the talent well has run dry. If the UFC were able to space seasons further apart, they might be able to draw on more mature and developed talent. But they’re running this machine into the ground and I don’t think they’ve been able to cull the kind of talent they need consistently to make the show interesting.
In fact, the coaches’ celebrity status used to be an ancillary benefit. TUF was originally and almost exclusively about the developing fighters. And when the show first started, there were a lot of up-and-comers to choose from. But between the pacing of the seasons and the growth of MMA leading to other organizations snatching up talent, there just isn’t that much left to go around. Mir and Nogueira, despite being two of my favorite fighters, aren’t going to change that dynamic.