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Liddell says show, fight must go on

The new season of “The Ultimate Fighter” debuts Wednesday night with the prospect of coaches Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz fighting each other for the third time at the conclusion of the show in June.

There have been rumors that a situation arose on the show that caused Ortiz to leave the taping and the fight between the two veterans might not happen at the end of Season 11 of the Ultimate Fighting Championship’s reality show.

Liddell said on a conference call Monday he hopes that is not the case.

“I’ve heard the rumors, of course, but from what I understand he’s signed to fight and he’s still going to show up and get the beating he’s supposed to get,” Liddell said. “I think I earned it having to put up with him for seven weeks. I earned the right to go out there and beat him.”

Liddell would probably keep any potential development on the show a secret because of the confidentiality clause in the contract for the reality show.

Liddell, who knocked out Ortiz in each of their two previous meetings, has been out of action for nearly a year since losing for the fourth time in his last five bouts.

The show debuts after a UFC Fight Night card Wednesday, which is headlined by a lightweight bout between Kenny Florian and Takanori Gomi and a heavyweight fight between Stefan Struve and Las Vegan Roy Nelson.

The card will air tape delayed on Spike (Cable 29), followed by the season premiere of “The Ultimate Fighter.”

■ FRIENDLY RIVALS — Jon Fitch proclaimed himself ready for a second shot at the welterweight title after beating Ben Saunders at UFC 111 on Saturday night, but UFC president Dana White questioned how badly Fitch wants the opportunity.

“There’s nothing more important to me than fighting for the title. I’m 12-1 in the UFC with one loss to (champion Georges St. Pierre),” Fitch said at the postfight news conference. “I’m a better fighter than the first time we fought. And I want a title shot.”

White chimed in that Fitch should finally agree to fight his friend and American Kickboxing Academy teammate Josh Koscheck to help determine the top contender, which Fitch indicated he would not be willing to do.

“I guess he doesn’t want the title shot that badly,” White said with a smile.

He went on to say fighters need to put their personal relationships aside.

“Jon said, ‘I want that title so bad.’ Really? How bad do you want it?” White said later. “There’s no reason two guys can’t go out and compete against each other to see who’s better. It’s over, man. This whole ‘We don’t want to fight each other’ thing. How long can it go on when you’ve got two top guys in the same division and they won’t fight each other?”

Koscheck will take on Paul Daley at UFC 113 in Montreal on May 8.

■ SAVED BY THE BELL — Sean Bollinger put Ryan Couture to sleep with a triangle choke in the main event of the Tuff-N-Uff amateur card at The Orleans on Friday night, but the son of UFC star Randy Couture did not lose the bout.

The referee ruled Couture went out after the bell, signifying the end of the second round.

He regained consciousness almost immediately and won the third round. The judges scored the fight a draw.

It was probably the last amateur appearance for the 27-year-old Couture, who is expected to turn pro.

Contact reporter Adam Hill at ahill@reviewjournal.com or 702-224-5509.

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