Rebney says Tito Ortiz is risking paralysis if he fights again

Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE

The Bellator CEO says a medical specialist has told him that the former UFC champ could end up paralyzed if he fights again.

Tito Ortiz was supposed to face Rampage Jackson last fall in Bellator's first-ever pay-per-view event at Bellator 106. Instead Tito broke his neck in training and the card moved to Spike TV.

Bellator's CEO Bjorn Rebney talked about Tito's health and whether or not he'll be able to return to action at this week's media call (via MMA Weekly):

"When I initially got on the phone with the doctors, and Tito announced to us that he had fractured his neck, that was and is the primary concern. There’s not a substantive answer at this point to whether he’s going to come back.

"We’re having discussions with him. The key was to get 120-percent healed," said Rebney. "It’s an unsettling conversation to have a specialist in the field of neck injuries to tell you that with the right kind of drop on the head, or the right kind of impact on the spine, paralysis could be a result. That’s never a good conversation: A) for a world class althete, but B) it’s never a good conversation for the person in my position charged with putting that person inside of a cage to fight against top tier competition.

"If a fighter becomes injured, or is unable to compete, it’s what’s called tolling. The contract basically stops until such time as the fighter can compete. And when the fighter can compete and is 100-percent cleared then everything reignites and starts up again. It’s almost like time stops as the fighter recuperates from an injury or gets to a position to where he can compete again. "Tito and I have got to sit down, work through it, talk about it, and if he is going to get back inside the cage, which is a distinct possibility, figure out what the best launch pad is and how he’d want to do that and what makes sense," added Rebney.

Good to know that TIto's health is a factor in Rebney's calculations.

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