A lot of people were taken aback recently when Cris “Cyborg” Santos’ manager said that he believed a Cyborg vs. Ronda Rousey bout would eventually take place, just not at 135 pounds.
It wasn’t so much the rhetoric about the fight, but more so who it was saying those words. And that would be Tito Ortiz, who now claims Cyborg among his charges under his new management company, Primetime 360.
Ortiz’s career spans a time when fighters were lucky to be making in the four-figures for a fight to now, where it isn’t uncommon for those at the top to actually bump up into seven-digit paydays.
He believes that he had a lot to do with progressing the sport to that point, but also has the experience of building up his brand and other business interests so that fighting wasn’t the be-all, end-all to his life. Ortiz didn’t necessarily have to make millions and millions of dollars from his fight career in order to sustain himself once he stepped out of the Octagon for the final time.
“During my whole career, I made mistakes. I made positive and negative things to get me to where I am today. I want to go out and find the next generation fighters. I’m really going to take this managing stuff by storm. I really want to battle for fighters for what they believe in and what I believe in,” Ortiz told MMAWeekly.com about why he decided to start Primetime 360.
Ortiz has had representation over the years. In fact, current UFC president Dana White was once he and Chuck Liddell’s manager. But Ortiz wasn’t a fighter that would lay his life in the hands of his representatives and just accept what was doled out to him.
The former UFC light heavyweight champion, as he says, took many missteps throughout his career, but that’s because he was always involved, always taking an active hand in the direction of his career on the business end, not just in the gym and in the cage.
That’s why he believes he has something to offer today’s fighters that sets him apart.
Ortiz doesn’t intend to promise his fighters that stars and the moon if they sign on with him. He intends to promise them that if they are willing to put in the work, they will be successful, and perhaps more importantly, they will have a future beyond the short lifespan of a professional combat sports athlete.
“I want to break the mold on fighters. They’re going to do all the hard, diligent work to become superstars,” said Ortiz. “I think that’s what it comes down to, where I’m showing these guys the right things to do to make themselves a brand. That’s what it’s really about, a fight for the fighters, and that’s what I’ve been doing for myself for so long, making the right decisions and not making ones on pure emotions.
“I’ve been in the trenches and I’ve battled for my brand; so not reinvent the wheel, but make it better.”
Cris Cyborg and Rob Emerson are the first of Ortiz’s clients for Primetime 360.
Cyborg has struggled, getting bad advice and making some wrong turns in her career, dropping from her perch as the Strikeforce women’s featherweight champion to sitting on the sidelines for a year due to a positive drug test for steroids.
Ortiz believes he can help fighters like Cyborg – that want to do the right thing and put in the work – to put their careers on the right track and build a safety net for their futures.
He doesn’t intend to go out on a signing spree, taking on everyone that sets themselves at his feet. Ortiz wants the fighters that he believes see the bigger picture and are willing to put in the work it takes to realize their dreams, not just those that want their future handed to them on a silver platter.
“There has already been guys that have contacted me: female fighters and other guy fighters. Now I’ve just got to pick them,” Ortiz told MMAWeekly.com.
“It’s about guys making the right decisions not only inside the cage, but outside the cage, too. It’s about building guys that are going to be the next Tito Ortiz, the next Chuck Liddell, the next Randy Couture. I’m really looking for the next generation of fighters.
“Primetime 360 isn’t just about fighting. I’m going to go out and do my diligent work of looking for spots for them after fighting, for a career after fighting is over. The lifespan of a fighter is maybe 10 years. After that 10 years, what are you going to do? I really want to sit down with my business management and lay out their next 20 years, so they’re able to retire as a fighter and go on to something bigger and better.
“You sign with Tito Ortiz, I’m going to give you the opportunity to become something that you want to become. You’ve got to go out and you’ve got to do the work. This isn’t something where I’m going to sign with Tito and I’m going to become a superstar. No, that will not happen. They’re going to have to do the work, too.”
As he intends to instill in his clients, Ortiz hasn’t just retired from fight. To him fighting was a part of his life and this is the next step. That’s the core of the lesson he’s learned, that if you put in the work, there is always a future, and Primetime 360 is a part of his.
“I’m not slowing down. I have so much more stuff to do. I’m not retiring. I’m just graduating. I’m graduating from fighting.”