After much speculation, and outright lies, it appears former UFC light heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell and former middleweight king Rich Franklin will indeed headline UFC 115, the organization’s debut in Vancouver, Canada.
“Our Canadian fans are among the most loyal and enthusiastic in the world, and we are thrilled to bring the UFC to Vancouver,” UFC president Dana White said in the official press release. “We want to thank Mayor Gregor Robertson and our partners at Canucks Sports and Entertainment for helping to make UFC 115 become the first UFC event in British Columbia.”
Liddell was slated to complete his trilogy against Tito Ortiz when the pair finished filming this season of “The Ultimate Fighter,” where the bitter rivals WERE serving as coaches.
Multiple media outlets, including 5thRound.com, reported earlier this month that the former high school math teacher would be subbing in for an injured Ortiz and complete the season as TUF 11 coach.
Last month, FightersOnly claimed Ortiz was pulled from his highly anticipated trilogy against Liddell, not because of an injury, but something that will “significantly impact his future as a fighter.”
MMAWeekly.com took FightersOnly’s article a step further by reporting the Liddell/Franklin showdown would headline UFC 115 on June 12th.
White quickly refuted the reports by Tweeting, “We are doing [Randy] Couture vs. [Rich] Franklin not Chuck [Liddell]. Nothing happened to Tito. Tito and I are cool,” hours after the news broke.
Just last week, White assured MMAFighting.com that Liddell vs. Ortiz III would “definitely” headline UFC 115, with Liddell recently confirming his “tune-up fight” against Ortiz on a TUF 11 conference call.
Liddell owns a convincing 21-7 professional record, although has dropped four of his last fight bouts – three of which were in knockout fashion.
Franklin holds an impressive 25-5 mark of his own, however was last seen getting knocked out by Vitor Belfort in a 195-pound catchweight bout at UFC 103 last September.
The event takes place June 12th inside General Motors Place in Vancouver. It’s expected to be broadcast on pay-per-view, however no official announcement was made from the company.