According to Tito, the UFC has refused to cover the cost of his surgery. This does not surprise me. As Tito loves to say, he is a free agent. Why would the UFC pay for the surgery of a fighter who is not on their roster? They would in effect pay for Tito to get better and fight for another promotion. Tito thinks this is a grave injustice, and while I do think his injuries were the result of repeated fighting and training (or maybe just the result of carrying around your enormous head for 33 years), I also see the UFC's side. He says the injury goes back to his first fight with Randy Couture in 2003. This gave him ample opportunity to have surgery, but he chose to continue fighting with back pain. That was his choice and now he has to live with it.
I wonder how Affliction and EliteXC feel about knowing they were in active negotiations with a guy who was planning on getting major back surgery. It's too bad he never signed, because the breach of contract lawsuit would have been very entertaining to cover.
UPDATE - Zuffa has responded to Tito's allegations with the following statement:
“The UFC does not have the authority to deny or approve any insurance claims asserted by UFC athletes. Rather, Zuffa purchases medical insurance coverage for the benefit of fighters at levels significantly higher than those required by state athletic commissions. The decision regarding whether a filed claim is valid and therefore approved is determined exclusively through the standard review process of the insurance company AIG.”