For all the fights and his reign as UFC light heavyweight champion, Tito Ortiz has also famously been known for his feuds in the sport.
Ortiz started things off with his longtime rivalry with the Lion’s Den after he lost his second pro fight to team member Guy Mezger, before polishing up his skills and coming back to the UFC to finish off both Jerry Bohlander and Guy Mezger in back-to-back fights.
Ortiz still had a feud with the Lion’s Den leader, Ken Shamrock, for years after his initial battles with the camp. It took a season of The Ultimate Fighter and three victories over Shamrock to finally put the rivalry to bed.
It didn’t stop with Shamrock though because Ortiz was soon embroiled in a heated rivalry with former friend and training partner Chuck Liddell. Ortiz and Liddell engaged in one of the most famous, if not the most famous, feud in UFC history.
Add to that Ortiz’s public and private battle with former manager turned boss, UFC president Dana White. The former “Huntington Beach Bad Boy” is no stranger to controversy or speaking his mind.
Now with his possible retirement looming overhead and a positive attitude that’s permeating his personality, Ortiz looks back at his famous feuds with White and Liddell especially and admits some regret.
“I have a little bit of regrets with Dana and UFC with some of the things I’ve said. I tried to stand my ground; I think I did a great job by doing that. It’s a business thing. I don’t have a manager who negotiates for me; I do my negotiating. I know what the numbers are and I try to stand my ground for it, and I know a lot of UFC fighters are thankful for it. I had enough balls to stand up and battle for what they thought was right. I was the only one that stood up and did that,” Ortiz said when speaking to MMAWeekly Radio.
“So there was a little times where there’s some things I said to Dana personally, I probably shouldn’t have said. There’s regret to it.”
Ortiz’s relationship with White has been a rocky one over the years. Name calling, finger pointing, and even an occasional t-shirt saying “Dana is my bitch” have graced this particular rivalry.
Now, however, Ortiz looks back at his friendship with White and knows that some words that were said can never be taken back and for as much as he’d like to go back and change things, some situations are just not able to be repaired.
“Me and him were really, really close friends, and I said some bad things that I probably shouldn’t have said, and I apologized to him,” Ortiz said about White. “I still see that he does not like me. He says it’s cool, everything’s good, but I can tell the true feelings behind him. I don’t know what I need to do to make a difference. I just stay positive, look towards the future, and life is too short to hate.”
As far as his longtime rivalry with Liddell, surprisingly Ortiz is even ready to put that to rest. The two fighters are synonymous with one another when it comes to mixed martial arts.
If Liddell is doing an interview or a Q&A with fans, it’s almost guaranteed that Ortiz’s name will come up, and the same can be said for Ortiz. Despite the intertwined nature of their spotted past, Ortiz holds no ill will towards Liddell and doesn’t feel the need to hold onto that hate and anger any longer.
“As far as Chuck, during The Ultimate Fighter when I said some things, I apologized to him, like I said it’s business, it’s fighting. This is a fight game, you’ve got to sell the fight, and you’ve got to get in the guy’s head who you’re competing against, and there were some lines that I crossed that I kind of regret. Anything prior to that, hey it was the bad boy image. I was selling pay-per-views,” said Ortiz.
There is still some tension between Ortiz and Liddell because when one of their names is brought up to the other, no matter how much they try to spin it, something is still brewing under the surface. Be that as it may, Ortiz is putting it behind him because he’s just not interested in turning his rivalry with Liddell into the Hatfields and McCoys of MMA.
“Chuck tries to put on a show for television. I understand you have to sell a pay-per-view, and he says some horrible stuff in interviews and that Bad Blood thing that came out. If it wasn’t for Chuck, I wouldn’t be where I am and vice versa. If it wasn’t for me, Chuck wouldn’t be as recognizable as he was. UFC pressed him to be the poster boy, but he wasn’t a saleable person. As far as his fights, he was a great champion and an exciting fighter, but no further than that,” Ortiz stated.
“Hopefully there will be a time where Chuck will let ends meet. Let’s go ahead and let bygones be bygones. Both of our careers have been exciting. They came out with the Bad Blood thing and there was a lot of lies that were said in it. If that’s what it’s got to do to make me look bad and him look like a marketable champion like he was, let it be. I’ll take the flack from it and the heat from it.”
Ortiz wants to focus on the positive things in his life like his relationship with his girlfriend, Jenna Jameson, their two boys, and his other son, Jacob. He’s letting go of the hate and angst he held onto for so long because simply said, it’s not worth it anymore.
“We live short lives, why hate and hold onto that for so long?” said Ortiz. “Just forgive and forget.”