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Next season TUF coaches, Griffin and Ortiz?

Stint on UFC reality show could add to the build-up for potential third fight between the light heavyweight vets

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Sam Morris / Las Vegas Sun

Forrest Griffin, left, and Tito Ortiz embrace following their light heavyweight bout during UFC 106 Saturday, November 21, 2009 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center. Griffin won the bout by split decision.

Ortiz vs Griffin

In the rematch of the 2006 light heavyweight bout, Forrest Griffin came out the victor of yet another controversial split decision against Tito Ortiz Saturday night at the Mandalay Bay Events Center.

UFC 106

Forrest Griffin, left, and Tito Ortiz embrace following their light heavyweight bout during UFC 106 Saturday, November 21, 2009 at the Mandalay Bay Events Center. Griffin won the bout by split decision. Launch slideshow »
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UFC 106: Tito's back but Forrest wins

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Las Vegas Sun boxing/MMA writer Brett Okamoto talks with fellow sports writer Ryan Greene and videographer Christine Killimayer about what they thought of the fights at UFC 106 at Mandalay Bay Events Center on Saturday.

In Forrest Griffin's eyes, he's 1-1 against Tito Ortiz, readily admitting as much.

In Tito Ortiz's eyes, he should be 2-0. But the reality of the situation is that after Saturday night's split decision loss to Griffin at the Mandalay Bay Events Center, the series is, in fact, split down the middle.

What better way to build up a third meeting than to have the two fan favorite light heavyweight vets square off first as coaches on the 11th season of The Ultimate Fighter?

The buzz is already going.

UFC President Dana White answered a question regarding the potential setup without committing in either direction. Tito Ortiz nodded his head and smiled.

Forrest Griffin is down for whatever.

"I think me and Tito kind of have the same strategy — I think I got on board a little before Tito — and that's do what Dana says," Griffin said with a grin. "That's what's best for you. That's what pretty much my strategy's been for the last five years of my life and it's worked out pretty good. So, I'm gonna keep doing that."

Griffin, with blood pouring from a nasty cut next to his right eye which required stitches later, said in the Octagon immediately after the fight that he'd love a third bout.

Ortiz, however, stewed for a while over a fight which he though was his.

He implied that thinking in the third and final round, as instead of going for more takedowns, he took whatever Griffin could dish out with a goal of staying back and avoiding major damage.

Ortiz gave off the appearance that he believed in his heart of hearts that, at that point, he was up two rounds to none. Griffin unloaded as if he were down 0-2 and needed a knockout.

"I thought I won the first round, and I thought I won the second round," Ortiz said. "I got two takedowns, you see the damage on his face, I got him good. The third round, I was gassed."

Ortiz revealed after the fight that he was dealing with a minor fracture in his skull near a nasty black right eye suffered during his seven-week training camp up in Big Bear, Calif. He added in the fact that he only sparred one time due to a bulging disk in his neck.

Also, "ring rust" may have played a role, as it was Ortiz's first fight back in the UFC following an 18-month hiatus.

Leading up to the fight, Ortiz made himself out to sound as healthy as ever.

"You gotta sell the fight, right?" he said in response to a question asking why he hadn't spoken of the injuries earlier. "I'm pissed because I didn't have my hand raised at the end. I thought I pulled it off."

Despite Ortiz's frustration with the judges' decision, he was able to joke with White at the post-fight press conference.

It started right away, as Ortiz made a crack at White when it was announced that the $70,000 Fight of the Night bonus went to Josh Koscheck and Anthony Johnson for their bout in the co-main event, which ended with a Koscheck submission in the second round.

"How the (expletive) are you giving him Fight of the Night?" Ortiz said.

"Here we go again," White responded, referring to the much-publicized beef between the two which led to Ortiz not re-signing with the UFC right after his last contract ended. "We're back!"

Now, Ortiz is letting White call all the shots once again, with no questions asked. He made the claim on Saturday night that he's now a full-fledged "company man."

"It's Dana's call," he said. "Dana and I talked before about the possibility of doing The Ultimate Fighter. I don't know. I'd like to do this fight with Forrest as soon as possible. January, February, I don't know. It's in Dana's hands.

"I remember back in the day when Dana wasn't the president of the UFC and he was my manager and he said, 'Tito, put your career in my hands, and I'll lead you in the right way.' Dana, my career is in your hands, so I'm here to fight."

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