It appears, at least according to the man himself, that Tito Ortiz turned down a rematch of a huge fight that took place almost 16 years ago way back at UFC 22. While speaking with Luke Thomas of MMA Fighting about his upcoming September 19th bout with Bellator light heavyweight champion Liam McGeary, he said that he turned down a few other fights before that - including one with Frank Shamrock:
"Nothing against Kimbo, nothing against Shamrock... either Shamrock too, because they said Frank was an offer also."
"They offered me Frank Shamrock. But I said no. The fans don't want to see that. They want to see me as champion. The United States, they love comeback stories. And I want to be a comeback story. Liam's tailor-made for me, I think. His striking is great, his jiu-jitsu is great, his wrestling is...okay. Let's see if he can handle being manhandled."
He confirmed that he was offered Kimbo and Ken Shamrock as well, then had this to say about why he turned them down.
"I'm not down for the freak shows. I'm a former champion. I've done so much in this business of mixed martial arts over the last 18 years. My fans deserve the best fights possible. Bellator fans deserve the best fights possible."
It's a bit surprising to say the least that Frank Shamrock might have been on the table. He has been retired since a 2009 loss to Nick Diaz, most recently working as a coach on Bellator's reality show Fight Master. He is very close with Scott Coker so it's a possibility, but wow - as a fan, I'd actually prefer to see that fight over Ortiz/McGeary. But I might not be in the majority on that.