Brian Ortega To Remain ‘In The Hood’ Until He Gets UFC Gold
Brian Ortega has worked his way up to the co-main event of the next UFC pay-per-view, but if you think he’s living a life of luxury as one of the UFC’s hottest featherweight fighters you better think again.
Just 10 weeks ago, Ortega headlined his first ever UFC fight card when he submitted Cub Swanson at UC Fight Night 123 in Fresno, California. After bout, Ortega announced that he would be renegotiating his contract for his next fight and negotiations begun with his record at 13-0. During the negotiations, Max Holloway pulled out of his fight with Frankie Edgar at UFC 222 and with Ortega the obvious replacement, suddenly Ortega had an ace up his sleeve in his negotiations.
Speaking to Brett Okamoto on his ‘5 Rounds’ ESPN podcast this week, Ortega described how the situation developed.
“We were already re-negotiating for a new contract and you know, when you’re in negotiations, they call it negotiations for a reason, there was a lot of back and forth,” Ortega said. “Finally when this fight came to play, it was almost like ok let’s just do it, let’s sign the new contract, give them what they want and play the card. It’s pretty much played out how we wanted it [to].”
“We re-negotiated my pay, we re-negotiated my fights, everything was set and everything is being finalized this week signature-wise.”
Despite having 4 UFC bonuses in his back pocket, Ortega is still yet to move out of the rough neighbourhood in Los Angeles that he grew up in. According to Ortega, he’s not thinking about moving out of the area until he gets some more money in the bank and that starts by winning his next fight at UFC 222 on March 3.
“I’m not sure man, I don’t count my chickens before they hatch you know,” Ortega said. “It sucks man, it sucks, I’m still in the hood, but you know, luckily I got love there and no messes with me. The goal honestly, the way I see things happening is I beat Frankie, then I have some good money, then I fight for the belt and that’s when I take off and buy my own house or whatever. It’s expensive over here in L.A. man.
“It’s not like any other places I’ve checked before. I could be sitting on something amazing, then you look at it in L.A. and you can just get like a regular home. L.A. is expensive and people don’t understand that.”
The UFC’s tendency to introduce interim titles to their weight divisions has been an increasing trend over the last few years, but the promotion resisted the temptation to make Ortega’s fight with Edgar for an interim title. Ortega went on to explain why the circumstances surrounding his fight with Edgar didn’t justify an interim belt being put on the line.
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“The only reason it didn’t become an interim title fight is because Max Holloway’s injury is only 8 to 12 weeks long,” Ortega said. “In order for an interim title to happen, the champion must be injured for over 6 months. So they said they can’t make it for an interim title because Max is going to be back in 12 weeks or 8 weeks, so I would or Frankie would only be champion after this fight would only be champion for a couple of weeks and then we would have to fight.
“It just didn’t make sense. I would’ve loved to have fought for that belt, but it is what it is.”