Sunday, March 25, 2007

Ortiz doesn't show up for bout with UFC boss White

By Lance Pugmire

Tito Ortiz's planned three-round boxing exhibition Saturday against his boss, UFC President Dana White, was canceled when the former light-heavyweight champion from Huntington Beach failed to appear.

UFC officials declined to comment on Ortiz's decision, but one organization source said Ortiz was seeking more compensation for an unofficial event that was so intriguing to mixed-martial arts fans that cable network Spike TV had planned to air preview and fight shows in April.

A UFC spokeswoman said neither White nor Ortiz would comment about the cancellation.

However, Nevada State Athletic Commission Executive Director Keith Kizer said White told him Ortiz had left a voicemail for the UFC president telling him, "I decided to let you off the hook."

Kizer was expecting White and Ortiz to attend a formal weigh-in Friday in Las Vegas. White appeared, and weighed in at 197 pounds. Kizer said when Ortiz failed to appear within the hour, he canceled the boxing exhibition that the commission had approved earlier in the week.

"Tito's always been the consummate pro in his mixed-martial arts events," Kizer said. "I'm surprised he didn't show up. I'm surprised he didn't tell us he wasn't coming. I told Dana not to waste his time asking the commission again for something like this. We were very disappointed."

Ortiz negotiated the boxing exhibition into the multi-fight promotional contract he struck with UFC after previous contract talks had left him estranged from the organization and White, Ortiz's former business manager.

White told Kizer that Ortiz had been calling and e-mailing him earlier in the week, "saying things like, 'This is real, Dana. No headgear, we're going to use 10-ounce gloves.' Dana had told me he was ready for his " beating.

Ortiz suffered his second loss to light-heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell on Dec. 30, a three-round technical knockout.

"Dana told me he didn't think Tito was afraid to fight him, but it would've been a lot harder to live down a defeat to Dana than it would have living down the loss to Chuck," Kizer said.


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