Love him or hate him, it doesn't matter. As long as he's in the room, people talk.
Once the poster boy of the UFC, Tito Ortiz is now on the outs with the mixed martial arts juggernaut -- particularly due to friction with UFC president DanaWhite -- but that hasn't stopped him from drawing attention.
Since his loss to Lyoto Machida at UFC 84 in May of last year, Ortiz has been rumored to be signing with ProElite/EliteXC and Affliction. Neither came to fruition.
Now he is drawing attention for a likely move to Strikeforce.
Ortiz sat ringside as he watched Nick Diaz dismantle Frank Shamrock on Saturday night in San Jose, Calif.
"[It] was kind of a letdown watching Frank lose," he said after the fight. "I wanted that rematch. Thanks Nick, I appreciate it. It's like watching money go out the window."
Ortiz lost his title bid to Shamrock nearly a decade ago when both were leading the charge for the Ultimate Fighting Championship.
Although Diaz did away with his hopes for a rematch, Ortiz was the one to wipe out nearly any possibility of him returning to his old stomping ground. "The chances of me going back to the UFC are literally slim to none."
Still a fan favorite, a fighter his following has a place in most any promotion. Strikeforce is no exception. Company CEO Scott Coker invited him up to the stage at the post-fight press conference, seemingly prepping the media (and fans) for a future that includes Ortiz gracing the Strikeforce cage with his presence.
"I want to thank Strikeforce, Showtime, CBS, Scott Coker, Ken Hershman, all the rest of the gang for believing in me and giving me an opportunity to possibly get on free television on CBS and possibly get on Showtime, possibly a pay-per-view also," said Ortiz, mentioning a bout with Strikeforce light heavyweight champ Renato "Babalu" Sobral as a future pay-per-view option.
One stumbling block for Ortiz, besides gaining a definitive release from his UFC contract, has been a nagging back injury that he had surgery for last year. But his journey on that front is nearing an end.
"I just got a release from my doctor to start doing my weight training. I've got about another month and a half, two months before I can start wrestling again," said the former UFC poster boy. "It's gonna be great to compete again and be 100 percent."
He told MMAWeekly.com that with his rehab schedule, he hoped for a return to the cage "sometime around August."
While his future is yet to be determined, Strikeforce would seem the most appropriate fit for Ortiz. Yet, he has only one declaration to make.
"I want to get back in the cage and fight."