It appears as though Tito Ortiz’ unemployment status will be coming to an end sooner rather than later. Strikeforce has emerged as the front-runner to sign the controversial fighter.
“I just got a release from my doctor to start doing my weight training,” Ortiz said about his road to recovery after his back surgery in October. “I’ve got about another month-and -a-half, two months before I can start wrestling again. It’s gonna be great to compete again and be 100-percent. I’m six months out now.”
Since his contract expired after his UFC 84 loss to Lyoto Machida last May, Ortiz has been one of the most sought after free agents in MMA. He has teetered-and-tawtered, but it appears that he has finally decided on a new home.
“I want to compete,” Ortiz said at Saturday’s Strikeforce “Shamrock vs. Diaz” post-fight press conference. “I want to be on CBS for free, give my fans a free fight, and get on pay per view and get a title around my waist again. ‘Baba-who’ is holding it on, so I would like to take it from him.”
Although “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” called out Strikeforce’s 205-pound champ, he isn’t looking to take on Renato “Babalu” Sobral right out the box.
“I really think I need a tune-up fight before (a fight with Babalu),” said Ortiz. “I probably shouldn’t be saying ‘tune-up fight,’ but I had major back surgery, and I have no more pain. For the first time in six years, I can wake up without having pain in my back.”
In vintage Tito Ortiz fashion, nothing has been signed, but the hype is certainly there. The good news this time around is that Ortiz is already interviewing.
“We are in dialogue, and we look forward to Tito fighting for Strikeforce,” Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker said. “We’d love to have him here in San Jose. I think our fans would really appreciate Tito fighting in San Jose.”
Although the 34-year-old remains one of the sports most imposing figures, it should be noted that he has gone 0-2-1 over his last three contests. And it could be argued that he hasn’t won a “big” fight since he took a split decision from Forrest Griffin at UFC 59 in April of 2006.
“I want to get back in the cage and fight,” Ortiz stated.
We’ll just have to see how much fight he has left in him.