UFC President Dana White will break the latest UFC news via media conference call at 2:00 pm ET time. Check back in about thirty minutes, as Bleacher Report will be live blogging the call—twitter style.
1:50 pm ET: Anxiously awaiting the conference call to start.
The big speculation is that Dana White will announce Tito Ortiz is back in the UFC. Also, there could be an announcement that the UFC has entered into a mainstream deal with ESPN-ABC. Both could be confirmed today, and possibly much more. With the way the MMA world has been turned on its head this last week...anything is possible.
1:58 pm ET: As we wait, it is worth thinking about who Tito Ortiz might fight in his first fight back. Alot of people thought he would fight against Rich Franklin in the main event at UFC 103, but the time table doesn't seem to work out.
Tito just started training again, coming off his back surgery, so he will likely need much more time to get MMA-ready for his UFC re-debut...should that be the case.
2:15 pm ET: Dana White talks about how bad he wanted to make the Fedor deal happen. He wants the best to fight to prove who “the best of the best is.” Dana says that Fedor will never get a better deal than what he was offered. They would not compromise on the co-promotion aspect.
Dana confirms that Vitor Belfort vs. Rich Franklin will headline UFC 103 in Dallas, TX.
Dana confirms that Dan Henderson will definitely be next in line to fight Anderson Silva.
Dana confirms that will they signed the deal with ESPN to broadcast UFC over in England and Ireland for free, starting with UFC 101.
Tito is announced to be on the call. Tito has signed to compete in the UFC. Dana said Tito will retire with the UFC.
Dan Lauzon has been added to the list of fighters signed by the UFC. Dana says they are in talks with other Affliction fighters, and will announce deals when they are done.
Tito said that competition was the key in coming back to the UFC. He quipped, who would he fight in Strikeforce? He said he would crush Renato Sobral, and if he fought Frank Shamrock again it would be the first death in the UFC.
Tito is back in training, and would like to fight by the end of the year—maybe the New Year’s Eve show.
Vitor Belfort and Rich Franklin will fight at 205 pounds in the light heavyweight division.
Tito Ortiz will likely fight Mark Coleman first fight back. Tito laughs, and thanks Dana for informing him.
Dana talks about how the UFC is going to invade Canada, calling it the mecca of MMA right now. He loves going to Canada, and wants to do shows in Toronto, Vancouver, etc. as soon as they can.
Dana White says he has no interest in Andre Arlovski or Tim Sylvia.
Dana White says he is going to jump off the Mandalay Bay Events Center (based on the UFC 100 buy rate breaking 1.5 million buys). Would you believe me if I told you I asked him the question that got that answer?!
Dana said that Dan Henderson vs. Anderson Silva could happen very soon if Silva comes out of his UFC 101 fight with Forrest Griffin relatively unscathed.
Dana White is asked whether or not Chuck Liddell vs. Tito Ortiz 3 could happen. Apparently, Liddell has been using twitter to talk about that fight. Dana White said, "I don't know."
Dana states that if M-1 Global would drop the whole co-promotion thing that they would be announcing Fedor in the UFC today. That is what Dana wanted to happen.
Tito Ortiz says that he is at peace and pain-free more so then he has been since he was last UFC champion. He feels that he can make a run at the light heavyweight title, given that he is healthier then he has been in years.
Dana says they are "very close" to making a deal that will change the MMA landscape forever, but would not comment on whether it was a mainstream TV deal or not.
Dana White says that the hatchet has been buried with the Affliction, including Tom Atencio.
Dana White was asked about Bud Light and if he has talked to them (remember Brock Lesnar insulted them at UFC 100). Dana said he apologized to them, and they are fine.
Dana said that over 25 million people watched UFC 100, and he couldn't be happier with the TV deal they have down there. They will be putting on a live MMA event down in Mexico as soon as they can. Tito Ortiz said he would like to fight in the main event in Mexico City.
Dana said at the beginning of the call he would not talk about Fedor, but that didn't hold. Dana was asked again about Fedor, and he reiterated that they were willing to do whatever it took to make the deal happen. But M-1 only cared about co-promoting, and that was the deal killer.
Dana said, who is M-1 Global to get to co-promote with the UFC? Dana said the offer they put out there is still standing whenever M-1 Global wants to make the deal happpen—and they can call him up and make it happen.
Dana said when they want to make the deal, he will do it...otherwise, he doesn't want to talk about Fedor anymore.