Tito Ortiz fighting Forrest Griffin

Updated: July 6, 2012, 6:03 PM ET
By Franklin McNeil | ESPN.com

LAS VEGAS -- Former UFC light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz makes his final appearance in the Octagon on Saturday night against Forrest Griffin at UFC 148.

But three weeks ago, Ortiz's 10-year-old son, Jacob, was diagnosed with meningitis. Ortiz immediately left his training camp at Big Bear, Calif., to be with him in Arizona.

The child recovered in three days, but Ortiz already was considering withdrawing from his UFC finale with Griffin.

"My kid comes first," Ortiz said. "Family comes first, no matter what.

"I will fight with an injury and not pull out (of a fight). For my child, 100 percent, I would have pulled out. I don't care what amount of money, no matter what my fame is, my children come first. One hundred percent, I would have pulled out."

Upon receiving assurance from doctors that his son would make a full recovery, Ortiz returned to training camp. He missed a total of four days.

"It was no big deal (missing four days of training camp). I'm OK," Ortiz said. "I was destroyed (emotionally). It took me about a day to recover from it.

"Thank God, my ex-wife, Kristin, caught it early enough. (The doctors) were able to get rid of it in three days.

"Thank God, he has Ortiz blood running through him. He was able to bounce back super quick."

Ortiz still holds the mark for longest reigning light heavyweight champion in UFC history. He held the 205-pound crown from April 14, 2000, until Sept. 26, 2003.

On Saturday afternoon, just hours before his final bout, Ortiz (17-10-1) will be inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame.

Griffin enters the cage Saturday night with a pro record of 18-7.

Ortiz and Griffin will be meeting for the third time. Each fighter has a win.

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