Last year Tito Ortiz was scheduled to fight Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, headlining Bellator's PPV debut, when he suffered a fractured neck less than two weeks before the event, which was ultimately cancelled.
"The doctor went as far as to say given the fracture and where it's located, if he were slammed on his head in the wrong way, that conceivably the fracture could cause paralysis," said Bellator founder and CEO Bjorn Rebney as transcribed by MMAWeekly. "Tito was still interested in trying to find a way to move forward, which I wasn't in favor of and his doctor wasn't in favor of."
During a recent media conference call, Rebney spoke about the injury, and apparently little has changed.
“Tito is still with us," said Rebney. "I’ve got to sit down and really download with Tito. When I initially got on the phone with the doctors, and Tito announced to us that he had fractured his neck, that was and is the primary concern. There’s not a substantive answer at this point to whether he’s going to come back.”
“We’re having discussions with him. The key was to get 120-percent healed. It’s an unsettling conversation to have a specialist in the field of neck injuries to tell you that with the right kind of drop on the head, or the right kind of impact on the spine, paralysis could be a result. That’s never a good conversation: A) for a world class athlete, but B) it’s never a good conversation for the person in my position charged with putting that person inside of a cage to fight against top-tier competition.”
“The concern is still there, but just like any kind of injury, or just like any kind of break, he may be able to come back from it. And if he is able to come back from it, we’ll relight the fuse and figure out what the steps are to get him into the cage. But right now there isn’t a definitive answer in terms of when he could come back.”
“If a fighter becomes injured, or is unable to compete, it’s what’s called tolling. The contract basically stops until such time as the fighter can compete. And when the fighter can compete and is 100% cleared then everything reignites and starts up again. It’s almost like time stops as the fighter recuperates from an injury or gets to a position to where he can compete again."
“Tito and I have got to sit down, work through it, talk about it, and if he is going to get back inside the cage, which is a distinct possibility, figure out what the best launch pad is and how he’d want to do that and what makes sense."
Curiously, Ortiz tweated in an upbeat fashion at alomost the same time.
Tito Ortiz @titoortiz
Got the green light from my DR. Time to train. This year is all business. (@ Punishment Athletics)
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