Rumors swept through the mixed martial arts world this morning that Rich Franklin Vs Chuck Liddell would headline the UFC’s hastily arranged UFC Fight Night 22 card on April 17th to counter Strikeforce’s Henderson Vs Shields CBS card.

The news first emerged on the UG forum, where the original rumor that UFC were planning an April 17th event emerged from (and was later confirmed by Dana White).   Later Fighters Only confirmed that they too have heard the same news from a ‘reliable source.’

MMAWeekly and MMAJunkie later established that it is in fact UFC 115 on June 12th that the bout is being earmarked for.

This will come as a surprise to many given that Liddell was already scheduled to fight Tito Ortiz on that date after the culmination of The Ultimate Fighter Season 11 show which they have just finished starring in as coaches.

The plot thickens yet  further when you take into account comments from Fighters Only that suggests Ortiz may have some sort of issue that has not yet been revealed.

“Ortiz is out of the fight but not because of injury; he is healthy and is not suffering back problems as some rumours claim. The reason for his withdrawal is known to Fighters Only is something that may significantly impact his future as a fighter, but we cannot report the details at this point.”

That would certainly tie in with a recent article we published asking, ‘What’s Troubling Tito Ortiz?’ after he  made a series of posts on his twitter account that suggested that all was not well with the former UFC light-heavyweight champion.

At the time there was speculation that he was splitting up from his partner, Jenna Jameson, but subsequent posts from Ortiz suggest that is not the case.


There remains confusion over whether Franklin – Liddell will indeed take place or not.  All the major MMA sites reported on this bout, including Sherdog reporter Loretta Hunt stating that the two fighters had verbally agreed to the bout, backed up by MMAJunkie’s lead reporter John Morgan stating the same, citing sources close to the promotion.

Despite that, Dana White has since posted two messages on twitter that appear to refute these claims.

“Not true! We are doing couture vs franklin not chuck.”

“Nothing happened to tito. Tito and I are cool.”

Since then John Morgan has stuck by his original story, posting the following update:

“ has been informed by additional sources close to the promotion that while a Couture vs. Franklin fight has been discussed, there are numerous obstacles that could potentially prevent the matchup from taking place, and bout agreements have not been distributed.”

There’s clearly a lot more to come from this story so stay tuned to for all the latest details.

Article updated on 13/03/10 to include the latest information regarding UFC 115 now being the reported destination of the fight, and further amended to reflect both Dana White’s rebuffals, and John Morgan’s additional info.