On April 26, MMANews.com's own Chris Howie sat down with former UFC Light Heavyweight champion “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” Tito Ortiz to discuss his upcoming bout at UFC 73 with Rashad Evans, his beef with company president Dana White, moving over to fight in the Zuffa-owned PRIDE, and more!
Part one was put online yesterday and can be read by CLICKING HERE. Part two is available below.
TITO ORTIZ INTERVIEW – PART TWO
Chris Howie of MMANews.com: With the bad blood between you and Dana White, when your contract does expire would you consider going to any other organizations such as Bodog or the IFL for example?
Tito Ortiz: No, to me I started my career with the UFC before Zuffa even bought it and I plan on ending my career with the UFC unless other things come about, you never know. There are so many other companies that come up but my heart and dedication is with the UFC, I have complete loyalty to the UFC for the future. I’ve never fought for any other company ever and I don’t plan on it anytime soon as long as I get what I want.
MMANews.com: Will the problems with Dana White recently from the boxing fight and what not… will that cause any problems when it comes contract time the fight after Rashad?
Tito Ortiz: I hope not, business is business. Dana wanted to put it on Spike TV and I never got a chance to tell my side of the story.
MMANews.com: What is your side of the story?
Tito Ortiz: Basically there was no bout agreement with that fight. Yes it was in my contract but there was no bout agreement for the fight itself and I wasn’t going to fight without the agreement. Dana White lied on Spike saying I called him and said I’d let him off the hook and all that B.S. It was completely B.S. I called him and told him word-for-word, “Dana, there is no contract and I’m not going to show up next weekend. There’s no way I’ll show up unless there is a contract in place”.
MMANews.com: But if you could have it done, have it set up in the proper way – you would get in there with Dana White and do the boxing match?
Tito Ortiz: Oh for sure. It was just supposed to be a sparring match but now after all the stuff that has happened I would go in there trying to hurt him. I don’t think he’d last a round. People are trying to say I’m afraid of Dana but I think people have lost their minds. The last time I checked I’ve been in the sport a long long time and I’m not afraid of no man when I step inside an octagon. I don’t think Dana would have made it out of the first round. So if it does happen in the future that would be something to watch, if people want to see me beat up Dana White let’s get the bout agreement in place and we’ll do the fight.
MMANews.com: For your next fight with Rashad have you started training yet for that? Are you going up to Big Bear for the training?
Tito Ortiz: Yup, I’ll be going up to Big Bear on May 15th. I started training three weeks ago. I’ve been getting into good cardio shape as always, wrestling a lot, been doing a lot of boxing, just the normal stuff I’ve been doing for any of my fights for the last ten years. I just keep continuing to do what I do to make sure I’m mentally and physically prepared for a fight. 7-7 of '07 – they are my lucky numbers.
MMANews.com: How do you feel you match-up with Rashad?
Tito Ortiz: I think Rashad is a very fast, agile wrestler with good boxing skills. I am questioning his ground game. I really think my strength and my endurance will have a factor in this fight. We’ll see though man. I think what makes the fight so interesting is Rashad is an undefeated fighter, he’s fought some pretty decent guys – not guys on the level that I’ve fought, but at the same time I think that makes the fight more interesting. He’s a young guy coming up really fast. He has good striking skills and he’s knocked out his last two opponents. He has a good wrestling background, it's just one of those things that makes a fight so interesting.
MMANews.com: And a little bit of bad blood doesn’t hurt either…
Tito Ortiz: Bad blood is always good. I love fighting with bad blood – that’s my forte' man. I love it. That’s why I’m the “Huntington Beach Bad Boy”. When there’s bad blood in front of me I’m ready to step up and fight.
MMANews.com: Now are you training with Quinton “Rampage” Jackson for his fight in May with Chuck Liddell?
Tito Ortiz: Actually he just went up to Big Bear. I’m down here for a week and a half in Huntington to finish out my training here then I go up to Big Bear. I helped him out a little bit with his wrestling but I know he has his training guys up there now in Big Bear. I have a lot of business stuff down here in Huntington for the next week and a half so I can’t be up there to train with him but once I’m done down here I will be.
Tito Ortiz battles Rashad Evans at UFC 73 on July 7, 2007 on PPV …
MMANews.com: Who do you have training with Team Punishment now?
Tito Ortiz: I have Justin McCullly, actually he just fought in the last Ultimate Fight Night he beat the kick boxer guy..
Tito Ortiz: Yeah. Of course Sal Solis, Tiki Ghosn, Rob McCullough, they’re just a few guys I’ve been training with down here. Like I said “Rampage” just left to go up to Big Bear. Right now I’m just working on my cardio and strength and a lot of drills and stuff. Sparring hasn’t really come into play yet, during the last six weeks it will become a factor [in my training].
MMANews.com: How do you see the fight between Quinton and Chuck going in their rematch?
Tito Ortiz: I think it will be a very interesting fight. I think Liddell better come in great shape because Rampage will definitely be in great shape. Hopefully Rampage will beat him, he has the tools to beat Liddell. In the last fight that they had he did beat Liddell and it came with numbers, he struck with numbers and it wasn’t just one punch. That was the mistake I made when I fought Chuck Liddell – I just tried to throw one punch at a time and I think that Rampage will actually set the thing in stone by throwing in numbers. That’s the way I should have hit Liddell, throwing punches three-four-and five.
MMANews.com: Would you get in the octagon with Rampage if he were to beat Chuck?
Tito Ortiz: I think that really comes down to me and Rampage sitting down and talking about it. There’s a possibility, maybe, but it’s all about the money. I don’t want to take any food out of his kids mouths and he doesn’t want to do the same with me. If we’re getting paid an enormous amount of money then sure the fight could happen but until that time comes we’re going to stick together as friends and never let it happen.
MMANews.com: Ok, I don’t know if you’ve read it but there was a letter sent out from Kimo Leopoldo thanking you for a role you had gotten for him in a movie and he was inviting you to check out New Era Fighting. Did you get a chance to see that?
Tito Ortiz: Yeah, I did see that. I’ve known Kimo for a long time. He’s a cool cat and I appreciate him giving me the respect for that. I think it’s really cool for him to go out of his way and write a letter like that.
MMANews.com: Would you ever consider fighting for New Era?
Tito Ortiz: Well, you know, it comes down to the UFC. I started my career with the UFC. I plan on finishing my career with the UFC. You never know what holds a-front. I’m never going to look past a huge amount of money if anybody ever offers it, but like I say I have my loyalty with the UFC and I want to stay with the UFC as long as they give me what I want.
MMANews.com: Would you ever go and fight in the Pride Organization, in the ring, if a fight were to come up over in Japan?
Tito Ortiz: If UFC wanted me to do that I have no problem doing that. It really doesn’t matter if it’s in a ring or an octagon I’m still going to dominate.
MMANews.com: So you have no problem fighting in the ring or octagon?
Tito Ortiz: No not at all. In the ring If I’m allowed to use knee strikes, I even like them a lot better, I like them more than elbows. I think one of the reasons they took knee strikes out of the UFC was people were getting damaged pretty bad but I’d use those [knees] as one of my main weapons. But that’s fine, either-or. Wherever it is I’m competing I plan on dominating.
MMANews.com: Would you prefer the cage or the ring? Do you think one has the advantage over the other?
Tito Ortiz: Yeah, the cage has a lot of advantages. You can stuff somebody up in the cage and land elbows down on them. In the ring it’s a lot more open that’s why I think it's good to use knees in the ring because there are a lot better positions. But either one, like I said to me it doesn’t matter. I’m a fighter and you put me in any type of area and I’ll do well in it.
MMANews.com: Ok, so this weekend you have the autograph session coming up with Team Punishment down in Huntington Beach. Is there anything else you’d like to talk about? Anything you like to say to your fans?
Tito Ortiz: Of course this weekend a lot of fans can come out and we’ll do autographs and you can take pictures with me and buy my Punishment clothing of course. I just have to thank all the fans who keep supporting me and have been backing me – win, lose, or draw. They're still around me and they are die-hard fans no matter what and I really appreciate that. I’m going to be here for a long time. I’ve been here long before a lot of these fighters have even been fighting and I plan to be around long after a lot of these fighters are gone. So I just want to thank all my fans for supporting me and supporting Punishment Athletics and of course everybody can check it out at www.punishment.com.
MMANews.com: Ok Tito, I’d like to thank you for your time and hopefully we can do this again sometime. Good luck in your next fight with Rashad.
Tito Ortiz: Thank you much man. I appreciate it.
Don't forget to catch part one of our exclusive interview with Tito Ortiz from yesterday at this link.
To read more exclusive MMANews.com fighter interviews, simply CLICK HERE for our full interview-archive section.