In a statement released to MMAWeekly.com on Tuesday night, former UFC light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz openly discussed his ongoing bout with back problems and his decision to have surgery to repair his back.
"I have made it though the last eight fights by physical therapy, methylprednisolone pills, and spinal injections for my last three fights," he recounted. "I took it upon myself to get surgery in hopes that my fight career will jump back on track and I will be back to the explosive monster I always have been."
He didn't stop there, however. In his statement, Tito went on to claim that his former employer, the Ultimate Fighting Championship, denied the claims for medical coverage for his back.
"The kicker to this whole story is that the UFC denied my claim for coverage of my debilitating back injury obviously acquired in the Octagon," he said. "After all of the battling, and allegiance I pledged to them, they now have stooped so low as to not give me the medical care I so desperately needed."
In response to Tito's claims, Zuffa, LLC, the parent company of the UFC, issued a statement clarifying its position as it relates to a fighter's claims for medical coverage when competing for the promotion.
"It has come to the attention of Zuffa, LLC (Zuffa) that Tito Ortiz alleges the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) denied an insurance claim following the UFC 84 event. In light of Mr. Ortiz' inaccurate statements, Zuffa is compelled to set the record straight," read the statement provided to MMAWeekly.com.
Zuffa continued, explaining its position as the purchaser of insurance for the fighters it employs, but added that does not give them authority over a claim made to the insurance company.
"The UFC does not have the authority to deny or approve any insurance claims asserted by UFC athletes. Rather, Zuffa purchases medical insurance coverage for the benefit of fighters at levels significantly higher than those required by state athletic commissions. The decision regarding whether a filed claim is valid and therefore approved is determined exclusively through the standard review process of the insurance company AIG."