Tito Ortiz on why the grudge match against UFC president Dana White fell through: “Lose-lose situation”
Former UFC light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz has finally revealed why his boxing match against Dana White fell through.
Ortiz and the UFC president were set to squash their beef in 2007, however when Ortiz failed to show up for the weigh-ins the exhibition bout was ultimately cancelled. White later claimed that Ortiz had dropped out due to fear, since he had outboxed him in sparring.
On UFC star Paddy Pimblett‘s podcast, Ortiz opened up about what really happened and why the fight fell through.
“It was supposed to be (a) 50/50 (split) on any money that was revenue from the fight,” Ortiz told Pimblett on the Chattin’ Pony podcast. “And then when it came about to the contract to sign — and I’ve always signed a bout agreement for a fight that I was doing — that wasn’t in it. I wasn’t making nothing of it. It was a lose-lose situation for me.”
“They were negotiating one of my contracts and I said to Lorenzo (Fertitta), ‘We need to put this clause in that me and Dana will box. On TV.’ We were supposed to do it on Spike and ended up… the contract came and said I was making zero off of it. I was like, ‘Hold on a second, I thought you said we’d do 50/50?’ He’s like, ‘No, we can’t do that.’ I said, ‘Well, I’m not fighting. But just don’t go on the scale and say Tito’s a no-show and he’s afraid to fight me.’ Well, shit – that’s exactly what he did.”
Ortiz admits that White would have the upper hand in sparring, at least initially. At the time, Ortiz had just started boxing, while White had previous experience as a boxercise instructor. However, as Ortiz sharpened his striking and worked his way up to becoming UFC champion, the roles reversed.
“Me and Dana used to spar a lot when I first got into it, because I never knew how to box. And as I got the better of him, and I got bigger and I got faster and I got stronger, I was the world champion, he’s like, ‘Alright, me and you can’t spar anymore.’ And I go, ‘Why??’ He goes, ‘Because you’re fucking hurting me, man!’”
The relationship between White and Ortiz during the latter’s time in the UFC was tense to say the least. But although they didn’t always get along back in the day, Ortiz no longer holds a grudge against White, and regrets how bitterly their former friendship ultimately ended.
“We had good times together, and I miss those. He was a really good dude, but business comes first, I get it. He was en route to making UFC huge to what it is today, and I really didn’t see that vision that he had. I wish I would’ve. I think I would’ve played things a little differently, but at the end of the day, I learned negotiation from him.”
“I think he took to heart a lot of things that I said, and I took to heart a lot of things that he said. Of him calling me a pussy or a stupid man. It’s like, a stupid man can’t be a multimillionaire. A stupid man can’t run a business. A stupid man can’t run a family, I think, in my mind, and successfully.”
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