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By: Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief
There has been nothing but speculation regarding Chuck Liddell's next fight in the UFC after multiple published reports began stating he would be facing someone other than Tito Ortiz following the end of the Ultimate Fighter's eleventh season. Now, UFC President Dana White has finally made a definitive statement on the matter.
The two fighters are coaches on the reality show on Spike this season, the second episode of which airs tonight, and originally were expected to face off at UFC 115 in Vancouver this June following the completion of the show's airing on Spike. Then last month, reports surfaced stating that Ortiz was unable to complete filming on the Ultimate Fighter, Rich Franklin was brought in to replace him and he would in fact be facing Liddell at UFC 115.
White initially denied the rumors outright on Twitter, but then left the door open for speculation by vaguely answering to the rumors at the UFC on Versus pre fight press conference with comments that he can't always give away what is going on and he has to say certain things to not let people in at times.
Then another rumor struck stating that Liddell would be fighting Randy Couture for a fourth time, with that bout coming at UFC 116. All the while, Liddell has stated he understands he's fighting Ortiz and that's what he's training for.
On Joe Ferraro's MMA Connected program on Canada's Sportsnet this week (video below, app users video at MMATorch.com), White finally gave a clear answer. "Absolutely. The definite main event [for UFC 115] is Tito vs. Chuck Liddell. That's definitely the main event."
This should put the rumors to bed (for now), though there's always the possibility White is again simply saying what he must to keep anything that is yet to air on the show under wraps. However, it's more likely that he's telling it as it is here, as it could be detrimental to outright lie about the planned main event.
UFC 115 comes live on pay-per-view from the GM Place in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada on June 12.
Penick's Analysis Well, there will be those who will write this off as promoter-speak again, but I'd imagine White wouldn't just outright lie that this fight is coming. He was skirting the issue before, but he hadn't made any definitive comments. This is an "absolutely, that fight's happening" from him, so if he's straight up lying here future comments will have zero believability. For now, we've got this fight to look forward to as the main event for UFC 115 in Vancouver.
RELATED STORY: UFC QUOTABLES: Chuck Liddell addresses rumors Tito Ortiz won't be fighting him, says he earned the right to beat him after TUF: [CLICK TO READ FULL ARTICLE]
[Chuck Liddell photo by Wade Keller (c) MMATorch.com]
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Jamie Penick, editor-in-chief
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