MMANews.com's own Chris Howie recently caught up with former UFC Light Heavyweight champion, “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” Tito Ortiz to discuss a number of topics. The interview was conducted on Tuesday, July 17, 2007. Part one of the transcript is below.
TITO ORTIZ INTERVIEW – PART ONE
Chris Howie of MMANews.com: Okay, this is Chris Howie of MMANews.com and today I'm speaking with the one and only “Huntington Beach Bad Boy” Tito Ortiz. Tito, how are you doing today?
Tito Ortiz: Good, thank you for taking the time out today. I appreciate it.
MMANews.com: So, what have you been up to man?
Tito Ortiz: Just taking a little rest time off and pretty much just letting my body recover, man. It's been a week and a couple days now – my back actually is getting a little bit better. Last week I was in some serious pain because I had a bulging disc in my L4-L5 in my back. Other than that, everything is fine. The cut healed under my eye and my eyeball itself healed, so I'm just trying to rehabilitate my back now and then get back into training.
MMANews.com: And the back injury was something that was suffered before the fight or during the fight?
Tito Ortiz: Well, it happened before the fight and I thought I could do physical therapy to make it right, you know? Then in the second round of the fight itself, I kind of re-kinked it again and the disc was kind of aggrivated and I really, really felt it. So now I'm just looking to rehab it and make it 100 percent.
MMANews.com: Now are there talks to have the rematch between you and Rashad [Evans]?
Tito Ortiz: Yes, of course there is. At the press conference Dana [White] said it was good to go. Right now it is just a matter of signing the contract and getting it done. So let’s do it.
MMANews.com: When do you see the fight happening?
Tito Ortiz: I'm not too sure. I've heard some talk about it being in Cincinnati but I'd love to fight in [Las] Vegas. I'd like to go back to Vegas to fight because I'm in Southern California. I feel a little cheated from the last fight so I guess we'll just see what happens with the contract and I'll fight Rashad.
MMANews.com: What do you feel went wrong for you in that fight? There was the point deduction in the second and in the third it seemed like you may have been gassed. Were you feeling tired in the third?
Tito Ortiz: Well I was still coming forward and I don't see how you can win a fight by getting a takedown at the end of the fight. I think I was pressing the action throughout the whole fight. I watched the fight and they show on the replay where I grabbed the fence the first time but they don't show where I grab onto the fence and get the point deducted. I don't think they showed the replay of the second time because it didn't really show that I grabbed onto the fence. It's fine. Either way there is going to be a rematch and I'm going to be able to shut him up once and for all. I'll get the rematch over with and worry about my next opponent.
MMANews.com: Did you find that Rashad was fighting tentatively throughout the fight?
Ortiz talks Rashad Evans fight with MMANews.com …
Tito Ortiz: Yeah, he was fighting tentatively. He wasn’t as strong as I thought he was going to be and he actually seemed kind of weak. He was as fast as I had already known. It was a good fight for me but I had taken seven months off and I think it kind of showed. My next fight will be better.
MMANews.com: In the post-fight press conference you said that it seemed like he had vaseline on his body. What was your reasoning for that?
Tito Ortiz: Well, in the first round when I got the first takedown I was trying to feed his left hand behind his back to my right hand and my hand started slipping off of it and then my grip basically slipped off too. When I tried to grab it again it slipped off again and then it happened again and again. If you watch the fight again it took me a good 30-to-40 seconds before he stepped up out of it. I was holding onto his wrist and I felt that there was vaseline there. His corner may have put it on his head and he wiped it off so he might have done that but it was something that I noticed right off the bat when we fought.
MMANews.com: So it was a problem for you when you were trying to gain position on him?
Tito Ortiz: Yeah, when I was trying to ground and pound him and try to get his hands behind his back it was a problem. I don’t think there was vaseline in any other places but I did notice it in that area, so he may have wiped his face or something.
MMANews.com: Did you have any problems with your bad knee?
Tito Ortiz: No, not at all. About four months ago I banged my knee up pretty seriously and it was giving me problems in training but then about a week and a half before the fight – they went away and my knee has been 100 percent. ever since. So I’m feeling good with it and looking forward to training for my next fight.
MMANews.com: So you're thinking the rematch will be in Ohio? That show is supposed to take place around October or November, isn’t it?
Tito Ortiz: Yeah, that’s what they are saying. So it’s just a matter of getting the contract signed and making it happen.
MMANews.com: Was this your last fight with the UFC or will the rematch be your last fight on your current contract?
Tito Ortiz: The next fight will be my last and then I’m a free agent. Then I’ll make the decision with to stay with the UFC or go elsewhere.
MMANews.com: What are your feelings on that?
Tito Ortiz: My gut feeling is to stay with the UFC, but negotiating with Dana [White] is such a hassle that it could be a waste of my time. It’s such a headache. The guy lies all the time. It’s non-stop. I don’t know. I talked to Lorenzo Fertitta a week or so ago and things went well so I may just work with him and hopefully create a big business venture with him and get it done.
MMANews.com: So you are still having problems with Dana?
Tito Ortiz: Yeah, it’s just one of those things you know? Dana just wants to be a superstar.
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