I have been an Ortiz fan all my life and say what you will about the Huntington Beach Bad Boy, he’s no dummy.
Ortiz is one of the most intelligent fighters in the world when it comes to business sense and it’s one of the main reasons him and Dana White butt heads so often. The two are actually a lot alike.
So it’s no surprise to me with Affliction closing its doors that rumors are flying around about Ortiz returning to the UFC. It’s a smart business move for both parties and White and Ortiz are nothing if not good businessmen.
Let’s look at from Ortiz’s side first. Not only did Affliction fold but Strikeforce couldn’t strike a deal to merge the two promotions before White and the UFC swooped in and partnered up with Affliction’s clothing company.
So Ortiz sees this and he’s been talking about signing with Strikeforce, right? But in all seriousness, how much longer before the UFC topples that promotion too? Six months? A year? Strikeforce is living on borrowed time and Ortiz knows it.
Face it Tito, it’s Dana White’s world when it comes to mixed martial arts and the rest of us are just living in it.
Now let’s look at it from White’s point of view. One might argue that White hates Tito but he would never pass up a huge moneymaking opportunity because of a little name calling in the media.
This isn’t some useless fighter that White can’t get anything out of we are talking about here. Ortiz still has a tremendous amount of value to the UFC and White knows it.
Think about it, even though Ortiz is no longer in his prime, how many fighters can still bring in the pay-per-view dollars that he can? Obviously GSP and Brock Lesnar are two, but after that who is going to blow away Ortiz in pay-per-view sales? It is a very short list.
Ortiz still equals big money for the UFC. White is a hot-head who always says what he feels at the time. However, he also doesn’t let those things get in the way of hurting the bottom line should the circumstances change in the future. This is one of those times.
Do White and Ortiz like each other personally? Probably not. But the bottom line is both men will make a lot more money together than they will apart, and at the end of the day that’s the one thing White and Ortiz have in common: making money.
The writing is on the wall in MMA. It is about to become a one-league sport. As the UFC continues to grow in power and net worth, all of its competitors are falling by the wayside.
Now a rumored deal between the UFC and ESPN basically puts the nail in the coffin of all other MMA promotions. That is the last thing the UFC needs to eliminate all other competition and basically make mixed martial arts a one-sport league, similar to the NFL, NBA and MLB.
And we all know Tito loves the big stage. Excuse me if I can’t see Ortiz competing in Bellator’s next tournament that will be aired in Vietnamese on some obscure channel two days after the live event. Not going to happen.
So will Ortiz return to the UFC? I believe he will. It makes sense on all levels for both Ortiz and the UFC to reunite and make all the money they can together.
You can hate Ortiz and you can hate White but they don’t make too many poor business decisions and this comes down to being a smart business decision for Tito Ortiz. The UFC or Strikeforce? That’s like choosing between Megan Fox and …well, someone who isn’t Megan Fox.
So like Dana White already said in his Twitter teaser, “Welcome back Tito.”