THURSDAY NEWS DIGEST 1/10: Tito Ortiz wants one more fight with Chael Sonnen, Jimmy Smith talks UFC release, and more

By Michael Hiscoe, Managing Editor

Tito Ortiz vs. Chael Sonnen on TV hyping their fight

Tito-Chael II

There has been a bit of a Twitter back and forth between Tito Ortiz and Chael Sonnen as of late, and there may, in fact, be another fight between the two in the near future. Ortiz, who seemed to be retired following his first-round knockout of Chuck Liddell in November would be willing to return so he could get his hands on Sonnen. He is also supremely confident the outcome would be similar to the first time they fought.

“[Chael] started it,” Ortiz told TMZ Sports (transcribed by MMAFighting). “As Chuck started it. And Chuck only lasted what, four and a half minutes? He called me out man. I’m gonna stay in retirement. I’m still gonna stay retired, and I’m gonna smash Chael. I’m not gonna choke him, I’m not gonna submit him, I’m gonna smash him. I’ll put a show on for every one of the fans. That’s what I’m gonna do.”

Ortiz was talking as if the fight was all but a done deal. He also said that he would like to see the fight happen in Bellator at Madison Square Garden.

Jimmy Smith cut in favor of  UFC fighters

Recently released UFC color commentator Jimmy Smith spoke to Luke Thomas on “The MMA Hour” this week and talked about the chain of events that lead to his release and the reason he was given for it.

Smith said he was booked to call UFC 230 in November with Jon Anik and Joe Rogan, but he was then shifted to the Moncton card in late October. Smith saw that as the first sign he may be on the outs with UFC. He also said his conversation with the promotion upon his release was brief but offered insight into UFC’s commentary strategy for their move to ESPN.

“Very simply it was, you’re great, fantastic, we love everything you did,” Smith said. “We’re going with UFC fighters for 2019, so, that’s it. I don’t think I’m leaving out any syllables. It was literally that was the conversation, it was, we love everything you did, fewer shows, we’re going with UFC fighters for those shows. That was it.”

Outside of Joe Rogan, all of UFC’s color commentary spots appear to be reserved for current and former UFC fighters. Despite the setback, Smith is optimistic about his opportunities going forward.

“Everything is open, everything is an option. I’ve been in MMA 20 years, I’ve been in broadcasts since 2006, 12 years, 13. Yeah, you keep going because this is what I got good at this is what I’ve excelled. So yeah I’m going to keep plugging away and being open to everything and see what happens,” Smith said.

Thursday Notebook

-Lauren Murphy spoke to MMAFighting in detail on her former manager embezzling sponsor payments from her. The manager would tell Murphy that sponsors were stiffing her on payments when he was in fact just pocketing the money.

-Joseph Benavidez told media that he has signed a new four-fight deal with UFC and says he will continue fighting at flyweight.

-Ross Pearson posted on social media that he has torn his labrum and won’t be able to fight in February/March as he had planned.

-Mackenzie Dern is saying that she will be staying at strawweight instead of moving up to flyweight despite some tough weight cuts to 115.

-Polyana Viana will fight Hanna Cifers at UFC 235 on March 2 from Las Vegas.

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