(yeah … about that shirt.)

Will it be “third times a charm” for Tito Ortiz regarding signing claims? He first said he was gonna work with Affliction, and then that fell through completely. He then said he was signing with EliteXC, and now that company is in the toilet. Now check out what he’s saying:

In an appearance at last weekend’s Rumble in the Park in Fresno (broadcast today on HDNet’s Inside MMA), Ortiz said, “It’s either going to be with the UFC or it’s going to be with Affliction, but guaranteed, you guys will see me fight — no matter what — by July.”

Ortiz also mentioned that he had back surgery last month, which he deemed successful. He also said it was the same surgery that Nate Quarry had, and Quarry was out of action for 15 months after his back surgery. So Ortiz is very optimistic if he thinks he can guarantee that he’ll return just seven months after the surgery.

He’s also optimistic if he thinks Affliction will still be in the MMA business in July. And he’s optimistic if he thinks UFC will still be willing to do business with him. Bottom line, Ortiz is an optimistic guy.

I gotta agree with Michael David Smith (or as I shall dub him henceforth: Midsy): Tito sure is being positive about his chances. I’ve already given my psychic prediction on Affliction’s fate, and you get the feeling that if Tito isn’t able to sign with competition and cause problems for the UFC, why would they bring him back into the fold?

It’s interesting though that Tito Ortiz hasn’t mentioned Japan as a possibility at all. You’d figure they’d be all over a trash talking mexican with a pinata head.