by Matt Hill – MMAWeekly.com
“I’m the guinea pig of the bunch…you know, and if I don’t stand up for what I believe then I can’t respect myself in the morning, and I’m going to fight for that…I may pay the consequences for it, but I’m willing to stand for what I believe in.” –Tito Ortiz
On the heels of “Bad Blood: Dana White vs. Tito Ortiz,” a somewhat divisive TV special that aired on Spike TV last week, Tito Ortiz joined MMAWeekly’s SoundOff Radio show to give his thoughts on the production of the special and to give fans an insight to the “truth” behind Spike’s most recent UFC-based TV endeavor.
Ortiz said of the documentary, “Dana painted his picture.”
Given the poor relationship that Tito has had with UFC President Dana White as of late, “Dana’s picture” almost certainly isn’t the same one that Ortiz painted in his own mind.
The Spike TV special was attention-grabbing and seemed impartial at the helm, but as the show progressed, it began to become much more one-sided – in Dana White’s favor. A show that at first reveled in White’s friendship with the up-and-coming Ortiz quickly morphed into a depiction of Tito as a selfish, snooty, problem child.
Tito said, “To tell you the truth, I was trying to say not to push the show…I called him [Dana] and said ‘if it’s going to view me in a bad light then I don’t want to air it.'”
Apparently Dana wasn’t listening…and, to Tito’s dissatisfaction, the show did hit the airwaves last week.
As always, a very candid Ortiz had a surplus of opinions to offer when he joined Damon Martin and Jeff Cain on SoundOff radio, and although he clearly disagreed with what aired on TV, Tito seemed at peace with his current position in life.
Tito said, “I guess I’ve got to shun away from it. I just got to turn my head and accept it. Where else am I going to fight? With the UFC how they are right now they do treat me good, but it’s just the bad blood that Dana has for me, man…I’m trying to fight for myself as a fighter and for the rest of the fighters that are going to come up in the next 5-10 years.”
Tito was full of fight-business specifics while on the radio show, but the main gist of his commentary was that he feels like he has consistently been used and then abused by the UFC organization.
Ortiz is in a somewhat paradoxical predicament, though. On one hand, Tito is a businessman who wants what is best for him and his family, but on the other he is betrothed to a booming business that seems to care much more about their bank statements than their fighters’ personal wellbeing.
When it comes down to it, though, Tito Ortiz is a fighter. Tito dabbles in business and in his clothing line “Punishment Athletics,” but the stark reality is that Tito is a known entity because of who he is as a fighter and what he does inside the cage, not outside of it.
Stack on top of that the fact that Zuffa – with its new acquisition of Pride – is now unequivocally the biggest MMA company in the world, and you’ll get the impression that Tito is a bit limited in his options.
Tito said, “It just seems like I’ve always been held down in this stuff, man. For when I went through negotiations and then them blurring out “Punishment” on Spike…this now, it’s just one of those things that I just get my hand slapped every time I reach out. I mean, I’ve been working for this company for 10 years and I’ve been bustin’ my butt so damn hard.”
“Bustin'” it he has been doing since he started coaching TUF Season 3, finishing the taping in Vegas and then winning a decision over Forrest Griffin at UFC 59 before pummeling Ken Shamrock twice. Tito’s only hiccup since his very favorable showing on TUF 3 came in a losing performance in his rematch with Chuck Liddell last December.
Ortiz has proven a couple of things in his last few years of competition, though. First of all, Tito Ortiz is a fighter who trains to win and fights to put on a good show, and secondly, Tito is not a ‘Yes’ man.
It was Ortiz’s refusal to blindly agree to the boxing match that has caused such a stir over the past week and has created so much negative publicity for a “ducking” Ortiz. And now, with the bad press and the angry Nevada State Athletic Commission, it seems like the grudge match between Tito and his boss will never happen…or will it?
“I would love to get it again, as long as everything’s right…that’s all I have to say. I have to make sure when I go to bed at night that I’m happy with myself and happy with what’s going on around me, and I would love for this fight to happen,” Tito said.
The good news for Tito Ortiz fans is that with the sport ever growing, the quality of competition that Tito will get to face will only continue to develop in the coming years. But the best news may be that Tito plans to stick around and see what these forthcoming “superstars” have to offer…
“I’m going to be here for another five years…I’m going to build an icon, Tito Ortiz will be an icon before I’m done,” Tito said.
In the meantime, at yesterday’s teleconference in England, Dana White was questioned about Ortiz’ statement that he would still be willing to fight White if the right contractual terms were reached. White said, “Why would I pay him to fight me? He wanted the fight.”
When the reporter continued, asking White whether or not Ortiz is aware that the Nevada State Athletic Commission said they don’t want to hear about the fight again, White responded, “Tito’s not aware of anything. He’s living in a f***ing bubble. He’s out there making himself look like a jackass right now. He ought to shut his face and focus on Rashad Evans.”
So, no matter which side that facts actually stack up on, there is still a prominent amount of bad blood between Ortiz and White.
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