by Jeff Cain – MMAWeekly.com
As Tito Ortiz’s final fight under Ultimate Fighting Championship contract draws nearer, he’s been vocal to the media about his plans to leave the mixed martial arts promotion following his UFC 84 bout with Lyoto Machida. In a pre-fight media conference call, UFC president Dana White addressed the former light heavyweight champion’s future.
“I think Tito has made it very clear when he talks to everybody what his future in the UFC is,” said White. “The UFC is where the best fighters in the world fight, and you put all the animosity aside between me and him, and, realistically, when was the last significant fight that Tito Ortiz won?”
“He beat Ken Shamrock three times. He fought Rashad Evans to a draw. He fought Forrest Griffin when Forrest just came out of The Ultimate Fighter and barely beat him. A lot of people think Forrest won that fight. In my opinion, the last significant fight that Tito Ortiz won was when he beat Vitor Belfort. ”
Ortiz recently told MMAWeekly Radio, “I really think it’s time for me to move on,” and the UFC president agrees.
“To be honest with you, I have no interest whatsoever of being in the Tito Oritz business anymore,” stated White. “I put up with his (expletive) when he was a good fighter. He’s not anymore, and I’m just done.
“Tito Ortiz is a liar. Tito Ortiz is selfish. Tito always gets out there and says, ‘I’m doing this for the troops, and I’m doing this for, you know? He’s always doing it for everybody other than Tito. The only one Tito cares about is Tito. Tito doesn’t give a (expletive) about anybody but himself. He’s proven that to me a million times… He’s just never been a guy that we’ve been able to do business with. Tito Ortiz was never a partner to anybody other than to himself.”
Even if his does stand by his contention that he will leave the promotion following UFC 84, Ortiz has a lot on the line when he steps in the Octagon with Lyoto Machida. White commented, “Saturday night is going to be a big night for Tito.”
If Ortiz wins, he leaves MMA’s biggest promotion on a high-note, and becomes an even more valuable commodity to other organizations. If he loses, he walks away from the UFC with a dent in his image.
Commenting on Ortiz’s fight with Machida, White said, “I don’t win or lose fights for anybody. I sit there, and I watch, and I see what happens, and we go from there. So never at any time am I sitting there hoping this guy loses, but I can tell you what, I never wanted to see somebody get their ass kicked worse than I want to see Tito get his ass kicked on Saturday night.”