Photo courtesy of TitoOrtiz.com.
With his days as a featured fighter with the Ultimate Fighting Championship coming to an end, Tito Ortiz, the one-time face of the organization, has mentioned that he’d like to take his services elsewhere following his upcoming fight against Lyoto Machida on May 24th.
One of the organizations in which Ortiz has expressed interest in Elite Xtreme Combat, headed by former boxing promoter Gary Shaw. Brash and out-spoken, Shaw is no stranger to giving his opinion when asked by the media and didn’t shy away earlier today when the potential of Ortiz shifting his career to EliteXC was brought up.
“In all my years in the fight game, I can see, touch, feel a superstar,” Shaw said this afternoon on a conference call promoting EliteXC’s network television debut on CBS later this month. “Everytime I see Tito Ortiz, he reeks of stardom. I think when his days in the UFC are over, that I can reincarnate him. Could you imagine Tito and Kimbo Slice in the cage together? I hope when his contract with the UFC is up that he will not be sitting across the table with me, but sitting with me at that table.”
“Please tell Tito that our door is wide open for him,” Shaw continued. “When his deal with the UFC is up, I’d love to talk with him and figure things out.”
Ortiz’s falling out with the UFC stems from his rocky relationship with the promotion’s figurehead, Dana White. The two have been at each other’s throats for years but things took a major turn for the worst after a proposed exhibition boxing match between the two fell apart and White opted to begin his verbal bashing of Ortiz in the media.
Ortiz has since stated multiple times that his fight against Machida will be his last with the UFC. (His current contract with the promotion ends this summer) Reasons for his departure circulate solely around White and his negative treatment of Ortiz as well as other contracted fighters on the organization’s roster.
Shaw mentioned that Ortiz wouldn’t have to worry about any kind of lack of respect from himself or others in the organization if he decided to sign with EliteXC.
“All of our fighters can attest to this, but we here at EliteXC put the fighters first,” Shaw said. “Our fighters are of the utmost importance to us. They come before the organization. The spotlight should be put on them. We treat everyone with respect and like they are a champion, regardless of who they are. Tito wouldn’t have to worry about that sort of thing if he decided to take his services to our camp.”
Additional conference call notes from today are after the jump.
Other things of note during today’s conference call:
Shaw on Kimbo Slice entering the world of boxing - “There are no plans to put boxing gloves on Kimbo as of yet. We want to keep him in the cage and continue to build him up as a big star in MMA. So for the near future, Kimbo will only be seen in a cage.”
Shaw on Kimbo facing Butterbean in the future – “Anything is possible but right now we don’t have Butterbean on our radar. I’ve spoken to Butterbean before and our conversations have always been good so who knows. Maybe in the future we can have Kimbo knock out Butterbean.”
Shaw on the May 31st undercard – “I’d think that you’d want to watch our entire undercard. What I’m proud that EliteXC does with their matchmaking, we’ve had very few mismatches and very few boring fights, we don’t want any love-fests, we want exciting fights. Fighters who you want to watch for on the undercard include Nick Serra and Carlton Haselrig especially.”
Shaw on fighter rankings – “I feel that the rankings are all flawed. They are basically ratings of the fighters in the UFC. The UFC has some fine fighters and so do we here at EliteXC. The rankings aren’t totally correct because until the UFC agrees to pit their fighters against ours and the other major organizations, they will continue to be flawed.”
Shaw on why boxing isn’t on network television – “Boxing isn’t doing too well these days because they refuse to build up the younger fighters and continue to use old-names for their big-time fights. MMA being on CBS is the biggest thing that will ever happen for this sport and I don’t think people understand that right now. Boxing will never get the kind of deal like we did while they are doing what they’re doing. Boxing is dying on the vine. It’ll still be there but it won’t get the kind of opportunity that MMA is getting on May 31st.”
Shaw on Mike Tyson vs. Kimbo Slice – “I haven’t had any contact with Tyson or anyone close to him but I would make the fight in a heartbeat.”
Shaw on the lack of respect Kimbo receives from some - “I’m proud to be able to promote Kimbo. I’m proud to know him. I’m proud that I’m close to him. Just like people have been doing about Tyson for years, still getting excited about him even though he hasn’t fought in years and was knocked out in his last fight. It’s because he has that aura and Kimbo has the same. People need to know that one of the main reasons why CBS even looked into putting EliteXC on CBS is because of Kimbo.”
Scott Smith on his fight against Robbie Lawler - “I believe I’ll get him rocked at some point. If it goes to the ground I’ll be fine, I’ve been practicing jiu-jitsu a lot longer than I’ve been doing Muay Thai. But I think that we both want to put on a show for the fans and make this fight exciting so I have a feeling that this fight will stay on the feet.
A quick fight favors both of us but a fight that goes the distance favors him in my opinion. Not that it has anything to do with stamina but every combination I throw is going to be me trying to finish the fight. With him, I think going the distance he’d probably out point me and I’d be pretty pissed off and probably not want to fight again for a while.
A win over Robbie would put me right over the top. I feel like so many times I’ve been right on the edge of the top ten but something has always happened to prevent me from cracking it. If you gave me a list of the top twenty 185 lb fighters in the world, I’d handpick Robbie out of the list. This is what I want and it’s going to be a great fight.”
Lawler on his fight with Smith - “I’ll actually be pretty happy if Scott doesn’t hit me because that’s my gameplan, to not get hit. It doesn’t matter though (on Scott saying that he hits harder than Robbie), if someone hits you on the right spot you’re going to go down anyway. I’m training hard for this fight and I’m going to be ready to go. I have a lot of good training partners at the HIT squad and they’ve gotten me plenty ready for this fight.”
Phil Baroni on his fight with Joey Villasenor - “It’s guaran-damn-teed that you’re going to get knocked out kid. It’s not even funny. This is my coming out party. I’m coming home to the East Coast and you’re going to be the victim. What you see is what you get with me. I’m coming in to throw bombs. I’m going to let my hands go. I’m bringing my track shoes to this fight though because Joey is going to run. But I’m going to get him in this one. I’m bringing it.”
Baroni on his ground game going into the fight - “It fucking blows. Who cares about my ground game. This fight ain’t going to the ground. Joey likes to bang and that’s why this fight is on CBS. We’re going to stand there and bang and do what people want to see. They don’t want to see that ground shit.”
Baroni on a rematch with Frank Shamrock - “I think about a rematch with Frank Shamrock every day. Everybody watched the Cung Le fight saying that Le is this, Le is that. Le is the greatest, look what he did to Frank and when I sit there I’m like, “why did I lose to this bum.” That was a fight I never should have lost. I fought that fight injured. That’s a fight I want back but right now I’m focusing on Smokin’ Joe over there and shutting his big mouth.”
Villasenor on his fight with Baroni - “It’s Phil and his mouth. He talks a lot of trash but I’m not all about that. When he gets in there he’s going to have to deal with a lot of heart. He says that he doesn’t get knocked out. We’ll see about that. This is actually the first time in the 30 fights that I’ve had someone talk this much trash and treat me like this so I’d like to thank Phil for the extra motivation.
I think that my overall game is improving daily. I have power with movement. My gameplan is all about executing. Overall we all know that Phil has standup power but I’m going to try and expose him with my movement. I’m just going to execute.”
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