LOS ANGELES – (March 27, 2007) – Top mixed martial arts fighter Tito Ortiz says he pulled out of a planned boxing bout against Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) president Dana White because he was being asked to enter the risky match without a contract and for no money. He said he is still willing to box White, but only if financial terms are ironed out in advance.
Ortiz, who has held the UFC light heavyweight championship title, had been scheduled to fight former amateur boxing champion White on March 24th in a “grudge match” in Las Vegas. The match was a pre-condition that Ortiz had imposed before he signed a new contract with the UFC last year. Like Ortiz, White had been training for the fight and had received Nevada State Athletic commission approval for the match.
Ortiz explained in a post on his MySpace.com blog that he had already given up time and lost promotional fees to train for the fight against White, but decided against continuing after White and Spike TV declined to sign a contract agreeing to monetary and other terms, such as filming the fight for broadcast on pay per view television.
After canceling several paid personal appearances in order to train for the fight and undergoing routine medical tests, he received a call from Craig (Piligian, Spike TV’s Senior Vice President of Sports and Specials), who said that “Dana (White) says that they are not going to shoot the fight (for PPV) or cover it in anyway. So this was a real lose, lose situation for me. I lost out on money for appearances. Now I was losing out on promotion and big dollars for the PPV. He didn’t want to cut me in on the deal. So as a business man I couldn’t do the fight.”
Ortiz also said that he has a “very big fight with (Rashad) Evans” coming up on July 7th. “Why would I risk my health and that fight for free?” he asked, referring to the White boxing match. “I wasn’t going to make anything for it. I was not going to get taken advantage of as a fighter or a businessman. You tell me if I made the right decision. Hopefully this will get ironed out and will be done right the next time. Just trying to do business.”