Despite recent comments from Renato “Babalu” Sobral to the contrary, a fight between top UFC light heavyweights Lyoto Machida (12-0 MMA, 4-0 UFC) and Tito Ortiz (15-5-1 MMA, 14-5-1 UFC) has not been canceled and will, in fact, take place May 24 at UFC 84.
The news comes from Machida’s manager, Ed Soares, who was a guest on Thursday’s edition of The Lights Out Show on the TAGG Radio Network, a content partner of MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).
In a recent interview with PunchDrunkGamer.com, Sobral said he didn’t think Ortiz wanted the fight and that the UFC would probably have to find a new opponent for Machida. Those comments led to a lot of speculation that the fight had been scratched.
Not true, says Soares, who also manages UFC interim heavyweight champion Antonio Rodrigo Nogeuira and UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva.
The Machida-Ortiz is official, he says.
UFC 84 is expected to feature a main event between UFC lightweight champ B.J. Penn and former champ Sean Sherk. The event takes place at the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nev.
In recent interviews, Ortiz has confirmed that the fight is the last under his current UFC deal and that he doesn’t expect to return to the organization. With his fame and popularity, which is aided by his current weekly appearances on NBC’s “The Celebrity Apprentice,” Ortiz will likely fetch top dollar on the free-agent market. The former UFC champion has fought outside the organization only once in his 11-year career.
Machida, a former K-1 and WFA fighter, pushed his record to a 12-0 (including a 4-0 mark in the UFC) with a second-round submission of Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou back in December at UFC 79. The 29-year-old owns victories over the likes of Rich Franklin, B.J. Penn, Stephan Bonnar and David Heath.
For the latest UFC 84 fight card, check out the UFC Rumors section of MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com).
This story was produced by The TAGG Radio Network (www.taggradio.com) specially for MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com). “The Lights Out Show,” hosted by Chris Fries and The JDH, airs Tuesdays and Thursdays at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT. Download all the former episodes at www.taggradio.com.