Photo courtesy of TitoOrtiz.com.
It’s official: Former UFC light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz has signed with Affliction Entertainment. The 33-year-old has stated that the deal he signed with the promotion will be nothing short of “ground-breaking”, likely making one of, if not the, highest-paid fighter in mixed martial arts today.
“I guarantee you that my contract will be like no other,” Ortiz told Sports Illustrated’s Arash Markazi. “It will be a ground-breaking record contract for sure, without a doubt. There’s so much money to be made right now in mixed martial arts and it’s all about the fighters trying to make that money. It’s going to be a long-term deal where I put my heart and soul into the company and help build them. That’s something I’m interested in doing. They’re going to bring me on, not just as a fighter but also doing some of the back work also.”
Ortiz is set to be introduced at a press conference Affliction has slated for tomorrow in Las Vegas. His official defection from the UFC comes just over 24 hours after his non-compete clause with the organization expired at midnight on Monday. It also signals that Dana White and company opted not to match Affliction’s offer. Exact numbers in terms of the money he’s making with this deal have not yet been revealed.
His first opponent will be none other than Renato “Babalu” Sobral at the October 11th event, whom Ortiz has been rumored to have been fighting for weeks now. The fight will most likely serve as the show’s co-main event and Ortiz has already started his infamous trash-talking in order to hype up the bout as well a potential rematch in the future against Frank Shamrock, who defeated Ortiz back in 1999.
“Babalu has been in my crosshairs,” Ortiz said. “He’s already been talking smack, saying if he sees me he’s going to kick my ass, but right on if he keeps thinking that. He’ll get his face caved in sooner or later. I know Frank Shamrock is another person who’s been opening up his mouth. He beat me the last time we fought and I think that would be a great revenge fight where I kick his ass and finally shut him up.”
Ortiz’s decision to sign with Affliction was likely influenced by his close friendship with real estate mogul Donald Trump, who became affiliated with the promotion prior to their inaugural event last month and has been rumored to even have purchased stock in the popular California-based clothing company.
Ortiz was a contestant on Trump’s “Celebrity Apprentice” reality show earlier this year on NBC. He promises that his notoriety in the sport and legions of loyal fans will help push the total amount of pay-per-view buys way beyond the reported 100,000 Affliction’s “Banned” show did on July 19th.
“Mr. Trump works fast and gets busy in a lot of the things he does and he’s going to give me the best deal possible,” Ortiz explained. “I know they want to make some money and I know they got over 100,000 pay-per-view buys on their first show and with me it’s guaranteed to be over 500,000 pay-per-view buys just by the number of fans that are going to follow me no matter where I go so they’re going to get there money’s worth just in pay-per-view no matter what.”
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