Tito Ortiz has finally told his side of the story of his infamous boxing match with Dana White.
Back in 2007, White and Ortiz were scheduled to face each other in a highly publicized boxing exhibition match as part of their ongoing feud with each other. However, the fight was canceled when Ortiz failed to show up for the weigh-in. Several years later, White gave an interview in which he attributed Ortiz’s no-show to fear, saying that he regularly outboxed Ortiz when they trained together many years ago. But talking about Paddy Pimblett Chattin Pony Podcast recently (h/t Bloody elbow), Ortiz recounted his version of the story.
“It should be 50/50. [split] for any money received from the fight,” Ortiz said. “And then when it came to signing the contract – and I always signed the fight agreement for the fight I did – that wasn’t in it. I didn’t make any of this. For me, it was a lose-lose situation.
“They were discussing one of my contracts, and I said to Lorenzo: “We need to include this clause in what Dana and I will box. On TV.’ We were supposed to do it on Spike, but in the end … a contract came in that said that I did not make money on this. I’m like, “Wait a second, I thought you said we were going to do 50/50?” He’s like, “No, we can’t do that.” I said, “Well, I don’t fight. But just don’t get on the scales and don’t say that Tito didn’t show up and is afraid to fight me.” Well, ***. That is exactly what he did.
“I don’t fight anyone for free. And he did it to make a name for himself, and he was good at it. It was a win-win situation for me and a win-win situation for him.”
For what it’s worth, Ortiz backed up White’s claim that he was losing to White in the practice room, however “The Bad Boy of Huntington Beach” countered that White didn’t tell the whole story.
“Me and Dana sparred a lot when I first started because I never knew how to box,” Ortiz said. “And when I got the better of him, I got bigger, faster and stronger, I became a world champion, he was like, ‘Okay, me and you can’t spar anymore. And I go ‘Why??’ He says “Because you’re fucking hurting me, man!” I am like. “Good, everything is fine”.
Friction between Ortiz and White was one of the defining features of Zuffa’s early UFC ownership and has been going on for a long time. After all, Ortiz was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame in 2012, and as the years went by, he found himself regretting that the relationship between the two had become so hostile.
“We had a good time together and I miss them,” Ortiz said. “He was a really nice guy, but business comes first, I get it. He was on his way to making the UFC what it is today and I really didn’t see the vision he had. I would like to. I think I would have played a little differently, but in the end, I learned how to negotiate from him. It was either his way or not. And that’s how I thought, I said: “Fuck it, this is my way or not.” And I think it could be my little mistake, but he is a few years older than me. We were such close friends that we said bad things to each other all the time, that it’s okay to talk shit.
“I think he took a lot of what I said to heart and I took a lot of what he said to heart. That he called me a jerk or a stupid person. Like, a stupid person can’t be a multimillionaire. A stupid person cannot run a business. A stupid person cannot manage a family, I think, and successfully.