Saturday, December 3, 2022

Tito Ortiz Recalls Why He Didn’t Box Dana White

Former UFC light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz has recalled why his planned boxing match with Dana White didn’t come to fruition.

In one of the MMA leader’s stranger failed matchups, the UFC president was once preparing to box Ortiz, whom he formerly managed, back in 2007. When “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” negotiated a new contract, he requested the addition of a stipulation that said White had to lace the gloves to face him in the ring.

Having been more than open to the idea, White accepted and began his preparations. In giving the green light, White had agreed to fight a man who’d successfully defended the 205-pound title five times across a three-year reign.

With that challenge in mind, White took the bout extremely seriously. According to UFC Hall of Famer Michael Bisping, the promotion’s chief did everything he could to get into shape, including the use of a personal trainer and dietician.

When it came time to weigh-in ahead of the contest, which White had even convinced the Nevada State Athletic Commission to sanction as legitimate, Ortiz didn’t appear.

At the time of the apparent snub, White pondered why Ortiz had backed out, suggesting that his promotion’s former titleholder had seen how serious he was taking the fight.

“If Tito doesn’t show up, then that’s it. I’ve done everything I was supposed to do,” White said. “I think in the beginning when we first signed the contract, Tito had every intention of fighting me. But he heard how serious I did take it, and Tito didn’t take it serious. I think he started to think, ‘This really wasn’t a good idea.'”

And later, during a 2014 media roundtable, White spoke about the lengths he had to go to be licensed for the fight, only for Ortiz to “bail” on weigh-in day.

“I had to go through all the stuff with the commission,” White explained. “Which I still to this day believe, it created a lot of bad animosity between me and the commission trying to get licensed for that fight. But they did it. They licensed me. I went through all the medical testing, everything, and then Tito ends up bailing on that thing the day of the weigh-ins.” (h/t Mirror)

Ortiz Told White: “I Don’t Fight For Free”

Now, during an appearance on the Chattin Pony Podcast with UFC lightweight Paddy Pimblett, Ortiz has insisted that there’s no truth behind White’s claims — both in terms of the reason for his withdrawal and the suggestion that it came on weigh-in day.

According to Ortiz, it’d been agreed that he’d receive a 50% split of whatever revenue was made from the bout. But when it became clear that wasn’t going to happen, he notified White that the fight was off. And the former light heavyweight king was vehement in stating that the UFC president knew the matchup was scrapped a month prior to the broadcasted weigh-in no-show.

“That actually was supposed to happen. It was in a contract and everything,” Ortiz said. “It was supposed to be 50/50 on any money that was revenued from the fight, and when it came about to the contract to sign — and I’ve always signed a bout agreement for a fight I was doing — that wasn’t in it.

“I wasn’t making nothing out of it. It was a lose-lose situation for me. And I said the fight’s not happening a month before the fight when they aired it on Spike TV, a three-hour session of Dana flying around… getting ready for the fight and everything. It was never supposed to happen,” Ortiz continued. “It was an opportunity for Dana to be a superstar, and he got that position, and he ran with it. He did it well.”

Ortiz went on to reiterate his financial demands, noting that he wouldn’t fight anybody for free. Unfortunately for him, that reasoning wasn’t explained by White, who instead went in the direction of publicly accusing Ortiz of being afraid.

“The contract came and said I was making zero. I said, ‘Hold on a second, I thought you said 50/50?’ He was like, ‘No, we can’t do that.’ I was like, ‘Well I’m not fighting then… but just don’t go on the scale and say Tito no-showed and is scared to fight,’ and that’s exactly what he did,” Ortiz added. “I’m not fighting anybody for free.”

The question is, what would have happened if the pair did step in-between the ropes? Well, if you ask Ortiz, a quick and painful night for the UFC president.

“Me and Dana used to spar a lot when I first got into it, because I never knew how to box,” Ortiz recalled. “Then as I got the better of him and got bigger, and faster, and stronger, and I’m the world champion, he was like, ‘Alright, me and you can’t spar anymore… you’re f*cking hurting me man.’ … He wouldn’t have lasted out of the second round. No way.”

How do you think a boxing match between Tito Ortiz and Dana White would have played out?