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The UFC + Tito Ortiz = ...

...big bucks. Steve Sievert makes the case:

After more than a year away from the UFC, he returned to beat Forrest Griffin in April 2006 to set up another stint as a major star and two more fights with longtime rival Ken Shamrock. Neither bout was competitive, but Ortiz won both and cashed in with huge paydays. The third fight with Shamrock, in October 2006, was a ratings killer for the UFC. The Final Chapter show drew a then-record average audience of 4.2 million viewers on Spike TV.

The two fights with Shamrock were the gateway for Ortiz to earn a second go-round with Chuck Liddell. The UFC parlayed the matchup into what was at the time, the biggest fight in MMA history. Liddell-Ortiz 2 at UFC 66 in December 2006 produced the top MMA gate ever in Las Vegas ($5.4 million) but the real take came in a record of more than $40 million in pay-per-view buys.


And while Ortiz , who intends to fight another three years, is no longer a top-flight contender at 205 pounds or the drawing card he once was, he's still one of the top five "name fighters" in the sport today. He's a polarizing figure capable of stirring the pot, selling a fight and generating ticket sales.

There's no doubt in my mind a fight with Machida does three things for Dana White's aims: it undercuts the name value of Ortiz since Machida isn't much of a draw, it creates the serious potential for an Ortiz loss given Machida's talent, and in the event of a win, does little for Ortiz since Machida is, well, not much of a known quantity to fans. White couldn't have created a better sabotaging agent in the laboratory with Dr. Frankenstein.