Chuck Liddell-Tito Ortiz III scrapped, Rich Franklin replaces Ortiz
A few weeks ago, there were rumors Huntington Beach's Tito Ortiz had suffered an injury that would keep him out of a third fight against rival Chuck Liddell at the close of their coaching stints on "The Ultimate Fighter" reality television series on June 12 in Vancouver, Canada.
Ortiz denied he was out, as did Ultimate Fighting Championship President Dana White.
Well, Ortiz is out.
The UFC just released a statement announcing Liddell, the former light-heavyweight champion from San Luis Obispo, will instead fight ex-middleweight champion Rich Franklin in the main event of UFC 115 at General Motors Place in Vancouver.
"I wish I could tell you why, but everyone's just going to have to watch The Ultimate Fighter Season 11 on Spike TV" to find out why Ortiz is out, White said in the UFC announcement.
Among explanations, this is about as flimsy and cheesy as it gets. White and Ortiz failed to immediately respond to attempts by The Times to reach them Tuesday.
"What I can say," White continued in his announcement, "is that these are two UFC legends and they give everything they have in every second of a fight."
Liddell stuck to the company line, saying in the UFC statement: "I can't tell the fans what happens in the Ultimate Fighter 11, you have to watch the show, but I'll tell you how this is gonna end, I'm knocking Rich out."
But people originally tuned into the series with the season-ending reward expected to be a third bout between veterans Liddell and Ortiz. This happened last season, too, with Quinton "Rampage" Jackson pulling out of a showdown against his fellow TUF coach Rashad Evans.
On his Twitter account, Liddell wrote, "I don't think that [guy] ever planned on fighting me," adding, "When I started the show with that [guy], I was assured he'd fight."
Photo: Chuck Liddell, left, and Tito Ortiz fight in 2006. Credit: Marlene Karas / Associated Press.