UFC Fires Back at Ortiz

Written by Tom Ngo
October 9th, 2008

UFC’s parent company, Zuffa, LLC, is firing back at former UFC light heavyweight champion Tito Otriz’ claims that they denied medical coverage to the injured fighter. Ortiz stated that he initially injured his lower back after his UFC fight against Randy Couture back in 2003, however filed the claim for the injury this past May after his UFC 84 loss to Lyoto Machida. It was the last fight remaining on Ortiz’ UFC contract. Once again Zuffa and Ortiz don’t appear to be on the same page as the bitter divorce continues.

Yesterday, Ortiz released a letter documenting the extensive back surgery that he had on Monday, and claims against the UFC/Zuffa denied the former champion medical coverage.

“The kicker to this whole story is that the UFC denied my claim for coverage of my debilitating back injury OBVIOUSLY acquired in the Octagon. This was the last kick in the gut made by the UFC.

After all of the battling, and allegiance I pledged to them, they now have stooped so low as to not give me the medical care I so desperately needed. I am not surprised at there last effort to hurt me, so I took it upon myself to get surgery in hopes that my fight career will jump back on track and I will be back to the explosive monster I always have been.”

Today, Zuffa released a statement regarding the issue, clarifying that at no point did Zuffa or the UFC deny Ortiz’ medical claim. In fact, they are in no position to do that.

“It has come to the attention of Zuffa, LLC (Zuffa) that Tito Ortiz alleges the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) denied an insurance claim following the UFC 84 event. In light of Mr. Ortiz’ inaccurate statements, Zuffa is compelled to set the record straight,” Zuffa’s statement read.

Zuffa went into further detail stating , “The UFC does not have the authority to deny or approve any insurance claims asserted by UFC athletes. Rather, Zuffa purchases medical insurance coverage for the benefit of fighters at levels significantly higher than those required by state athletic commissions. The decision regarding whether a filed claim is valid and therefore approved is determined exclusively through the standard review process of the insurance company AIG.”

The UFC is the only MMA organization that Ortiz has ever known in his 10 and a half year career. Although very popular among fans, he has been the organization’s most outspoken and controversial fighter. After his contract expired with the promotion in May, they decided that they didn’t want to extend his deal, putting an end to the decade long drama, once and for all.

Or so they thought…

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