Babalu’s Ultimate Redemption in Tito Ortiz

Written by Tim Ngo
July 28th, 2008

Coming off of a victory at “Affliction: Banned,” Renato “Babalu” Sobral is already petitioning for his next opponent. At the post-fight presser, Sobral was asked about a possible fight with Antonio Rogerio Nogueira but admitted there was someone else he wanted to fight, “that’s not the fight [Nogueira] I’m looking for; I’m looking for another guy,” Sobral replied. After a recent interview, we now know who that other guy is. “I want Tito Ortiz. I’m going after that motherf****r, I’ll fuck him (laughs) … But let them (Affliction) sign him first,” Sobral told Tatame.

After rattling seven straight victories in MMA competition, there was a lot of hype surrounding Sobral’s second stint with the UFC a couple of years ago. That streak ran up to 10 with Octagon wins over Travis Wiuff, Chael Sonnen and Mike Van Arsdale. He was supposed to be Chuck Liddell’s toughest challenge to date, but a disappointing TKO loss after only 95 seconds knocked him back down the ladder.

Following the loss to Liddell, Jason Lambert KO’ed Sobral and put his UFC career into even further jeopardy. But, it wasn’t until his last fight in the UFC against David Heath at UFC 74 where Sobral faced some serious problems. Sobral admitted to holding on to a choke even after the referee had asked him to release it because he was trying to, “teach him [Heath] a lesson,” as Sobral told Joe Rogan after the fight.

Sobral was eventually fined $25,000 by the Nevada State Athletic Commission, which was half of his pay for his victory over Heath. The UFC followed up the fine by releasing Sobral and putting his MMA career on hold. From that point, Sobral has tried to clean up his image and it seems to have worked as he received one of the biggest ovations during “Affliction: Banned.”

Affliction Entertainment VP Tom Atencio has said that he wanted to, “support the guys who supported us.” If it weren’t for the Josh Barnetts, the “Babalu” Sobrals and other MMA fighters sporting Affliction clothing, they wouldn’t be in the position they are in today. If it weren’t for Atencio, who knows where Sobral would be fighting next, but after his victory over Mike Whitehead at “Affliction: Banned,” Sobral is looking for some bigger fish to fry.

After everything that Sobral has dealt with following his second stint in the UFC, a victory over Tito Ortiz would be the ultimate redemption after not living up to the expectations that he had set for himself. Of course, that will only be possible if Affliction can sign Ortiz.

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