Dave Meltzer on the premium part of his f4wonline.com website is reporting that Tito Ortiz told him in an exclusive interview that he had neck fusion surgery two and a half months ago, after he was freaked out by suffering temporary paralysis in his limbs following a training session a months earlier. Doctors told him that he had bone spurs and a disc pressing on his spine, causing the pain and numbness in his arms that he was suffering from, and necessitating the surgery he chose to have.
Despite such major surgery, Tito still wants to fight Chuck Liddell before the end of the year and plans to start light training soon, which I think is absolutely crazy. I know that plenty of wrestlers have had similar surgery and didn't need to retire, but in wrestling you can attempt to work around such injuries and your opponent is doing the utmost to protect you. In a real MMA fight you can't protect your neck in such a manner and you are bound to be dropped on your head from a nasty takedown eventually. It's worth noting that even pro wrestling's nutty, delusional Kurt Angle has had the good sense to never fight in an MMA match, despite tons of big money offers, due to having a similarly damaged neck and spine.
I'm not the only one to think Tito should retire. Even before this news broke, Zach Arnold was calling for him to be forced into retirement in a thread entitled "The end of Tito Ortiz in UFC?":
Truthfully, Tito is physically shot and it’s time for either UFC or a major athletic commission to step in and end his career — you can’t come back from all those surgeries and expect to even compete against middle-of-the-road Light Heavyweights at this point.