From Camel Clutch Blog:
The search for Rashad Evans’ UFC 133 opponent is finally over. After turning down the fight on Tuesday,Tito Ortiz has had a change of heart and will step up to the challenge in Philadelphia, PA.
UFC president Dana White confirmed the news Wednesday with an announcement on Twitter.
“Get ready philly for Rashad Evans vs Tito Ortiz!!! Aug 6th LIVE on PPV at the Wells Fargo Center!!!!!!” – @DanaWhite
This whole Rashad Evans-UFC 133 story over the last 24 hours has been anything but fun to blog about. One minute Lyoto Machida vs. Evans is official, the next it’s not, the next it is, the next it’s not, etc. etc. At least I don’t have to worry about anymore rewrites with the latest announcement. Barring an injury we are good to go with Ortiz vs. Evans 2 in Philly.
Ortiz originally turned down the fight yesterday when White first made the offer. Some in the MMA community were quick to jump on Ortiz, which was ridiculous if you ask me. Anyway, Ortiz wound up going on Twitter to defuse some of the criticism after word leaked out that he turned down the fight.
“I have a life and things to take care of. The fight game is about making the right choices of my career. If you knew what I have been going through you all would understand. Peaking for a fight is what makes a fighter unstoppable! Timing is everything in life. This is a rebuild year for me not do or die. The time will come again! #positive” – @TitoOrtiz
Apparently it is do or die because less than 24 hours later Ortiz changed his mind. I think it would be fair to say that money was likely the biggest motivator in the change of heart.Ortiz mentioned in an interview with Ariel Helwani two weeks ago prior to his UFC 132 fightthat he was taking a big pay cut for the fight. Ortiz made $450,000 for the fight which is funny because he reportedly made $250,000 for his last fight at UFC 121. So my hunch is that he took a big reduction in bonus. My other hunch is that Ortiz wouldn’t have taken this fight if he got paid his usual rate but I certainly could be wrong.
With all due respect to Tito Ortiz, Rashad Evans dodged a huge bullet here. The UFC had been working diligently to put together a Machida vs. Evans rematch over the last 24 hours. Machida eventually turned it down. I thought that taking a fight against a guy who dominated him in the first fight on three week’s notice was career suicide for Sugar. He may lose to Ortiz, but he will go into this fight as the favorite as opposed to a big underdog against Machida.
I can’t imagine anyone complaining about this fight, especially when the alternative was Phil Davis vs. Rashad Evans. It is a little ridiculous to handicap a fight based on a fight from five years ago. Both men were completely different fighters when they fought at UFC 73. They did fight to a draw, however it should be pointed out that Ortiz was penalized a point for holding on to the fence, meaning he would have won the fight if not for the penalty. Evans will likely be the favorite, although I think this is a more even fight than most people think. Evans is coming into this fight with a lot of rust, Bader is a similar fighter to Evans, this I can easily see Ortiz taking a gritty decision here.
I give Tito Ortiz a ton of credit. It took him four and a half years to get a win and he had every right to sit back and bask in the victory. Instead, Ortiz is taking a fight on three week’s notice with a guy who he couldn’t beat in his prime. Ortiz took ten months between his last two fights. Coming back four and a half weeks later is really gutsy for a 36 year old fighter who has been plagued by injuries for the better part of three years.
Even more impressive is the character that Ortiz is showing by taking this fight. Make no mistake about it. Ortiz is bailing out the UFC. He is doing Dana White a huge favor. This comes two weeks after Dana White was ready to fire Ortiz if he lost one more fight. While I am sure he is getting a hefty pay day, I think it shows a ton of character for Ortiz to do the UFC a favor two weeks after they threatened his job and cut his pay.
“Only for the UFC!” – @titoortiz
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