by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
The end of the journey for “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy,” Tito Ortiz, and the Ultimate Fighting Championship seems to be drawing near. The former light heavyweight champion has all but packed his bags to leave the company after his May 24 fight against Lyoto Machida.
“I really think it’s time for me to move on,” said Ortiz during an appearance on MMAWeekly Radio. “I’d love to finish my career with the UFC, but the way they treat me, it’s just… it’s really, really bad. It really hurts me. It’s really disrespectful towards me. I’ve given them 11 years of my life, blood, sweat and tears in that Octagon, putting my heart on the line, putting my life on the line, and they give me no respect for it because I’m outspoken.”
The outspoken nature of which Ortiz speaks is his tendency to try and fight for fighters to receive a higher salary from the various promotions, a battle he has been fighting for many years.
“I believe the fighters should get a fair cut of what they (UFC) make. They’ve made their money back time and time over, now it’s time I think for the fighters to start receiving revenue that they get because of us,” Ortiz stated. “I’ve been a person to be outspoken about that, and no one else has.
“I think Randy Couture and Chuck Liddell should be thanking me from three years ago when I spoke out and they started getting paid more money, and I started making more money. That’s what it’s really about, focusing on fighters of the future, not just being paid low sums like some of the undercard guys are getting.”
Obviously, Ortiz has been fighting a very public battle with UFC president Dana White. The California native can’t deny it’s a major reason for his departure.
“To me, it’s just with Dana White, he has such hard feelings against me, he’s been very disrespectful towards me, and I’m willing to move on,” he commented. “To not have to wake up every day and worry about what he’s going to say about me.”
While the former champion doesn’t deny the tough relationship with White, he also says that he’s ready to put all of that behind him and just go somewhere else.
“I really just want to focus on what’s going to happen after this. I’m willing to move on, I’m willing to think about the positive stuff that’s around me and diss all the negative stuff,” Ortiz said about his future. “I’m over all the negative stuff, I’m over talking about Dana… I’m very thankful for Lorenzo and Frank Fertitta, for what they’ve done for me. I’m very thankful, and they don’t want to help me anymore, which is fine.”
Ortiz went on to say that he was negotiating for a new contract with the UFC, but ultimately the talks ended and the last fight on his current contract, the fight against Machida, will likely be his last UFC fight ever.
“At this point it’s pretty much stopped,” he said of the contract negotiations. “I gave them my first offer. They came back at me with some totally… I thought was ridiculous (offer). I held out, and I held out, and I held out until they gave me something else, which was a six-fight contract, and I don’t want to be held down for six fights with them.
“I want to go to a company that they’ve got respect, that’s the biggest thing. It’s not about the money, people got to understand, the money’s going to be there no matter what. It’s about a fair cut and being respected as a champ, as the fighter I am.”
After his May 24 fight against Lyoto Machida, Ortiz stated he has a 60-day waiting period before he can negotiate with another company. During that time he plans on attending some shows, checking out the production value and how the various organizations handle promoting their events.
He also talked about working behind the scenes of a promotion to help with marketing, while working to build young fighters and make new stars in the sport.
Specifically, Ortiz mentioned organizations such as EliteXC and Affliction as promotions he intends on checking out. And what kind of animal does Tito Ortiz hope to unleash when he works with a new promoter?
“I think it’s going to be huge for any company that does sign me,” said Ortiz about a positive relationship with a new company. “The marketability I’ll have where I want to put my heart and soul into it, as I did for the UFC.”