Saturday’s planned three-round boxing exhibition between Tito Ortiz and UFC President Dana White was called off when Ortiz failed to appear for his weigh-in Friday.
UFC officially had no comment from either White or Ortiz on Ortiz’s failure to appear, but unnamed sources claim Ortiz wanted more money because Spike TV had planned to televise parts of the exhibition match as a special advertising the upcoming UFC 69.
However, according to Nevada State Athletic Commission Executive Director Keith Kizer, Ortiz left a message for Dana White saying “I decided to let you off the hook.”
Kizer says he is “surprised” that Tito didn’t show up and didn’t officially tell the State Athletic Commission that he was cancelling. “Tito’s always been the consummate pro in his mixed-martial arts events.”
According to Kizer, Ortiz had been calling and emailing White all week “saying things like, ‘This is real, Dana. No headgear, we’re going to use 10-ounce gloves,'” and White had agreed that he was ready for the fight as well.
Kizer says the State Athletic Commission was disappointed, and that he “told Dana not to waste his time asking the commission again for something like this.”
White, who is also Ortiz’s former business manager, agreed to this promotional match as part of Ortiz’s multi-fight contract with the UFC. Previous contract talks had not gone well and had only served to further estrange him from the UFC and White.
Keith Kizer further speculated that while White himself believed Ortiz wasn’t afraid of the match, Kizer thought “it would’ve been a lot harder to live down a defeat to Dana than it would have living down the loss to Chuck,” referring to light-heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell, who defeated Ortiz last December in a three-round technical knockout.
-Mel, BuddyTV Staff Columnist
Sources: LA Times
Photo courtesy of Sherdog