After spending the first 15 years of their rivalry as the underdog, Tito Ortiz finally got his revenge against Chuck Liddell on Saturday night at Golden Boy’s first MMA pay-per-view. The fight was yet another reminder of why aging legends shouldn’t come out of retirement for a quick buck — Liddell looked every inch the 48 year old man who hadn’t competed in 8 years that he was.
Ortiz cut through the Iceman’s geriatric defenses easily, knocking Liddell out with just under a minute left in the first round (watch it here).
Following the win, Ortiz announced his retirement from fighting (again) and said he planned on moving on to fight promotion. While he thanked UFC president Dana White along with the Fertittas for giving him a platform to build his brand, he also accused them of throwing him ‘to the wolves.’
“21 years, I’ve been in this game of mixed martial arts,” Ortiz said at the post fight press conference (video via MMA Fighting). “I’ve been through the worst of the worst, I’ve been through the highest of the highs, like no other. Becoming a world champion after a year and a half of competition, losing my world title after five title defenses. Being in one of the top promotions in the world, and then thrown to the wolves.”
Ortiz contrasted that treatment to what he got from Golden Boy Promotions.
”I reached out to Dana White,” he said. “And [White] said ‘No, we’re not going to do this fight, no possible way, I want nothing to do with it.’ Because he knew what was going to happen.”
Tito credited his new drama-free life as the driver of his recent success, which has seen him go 4-1 since leaving the UFC in 2012. He specifically shouted out his girlfriend and former UFC ring girl Amber Nichole Miller for showing him what love could be, and while he didn’t mention his legendary pornstar ex-wife Jenna Jameson by name, she was definitely his meter stick for what it shouldn’t be.
“As a fighter you’ve got to have a solid home,” Tito said. “You’ve got to have a solid person that has your back. Not coming home to someone saying ‘You’re a piece of s**t dad, you’re a piece of s**t fighter.’ When someone says you’re a piece of shit for such a long time, you start to believing it. And I will not live in a negative life like that ever again.”
”I won’t let my kids live a negative life like that again, and I hope no one else can ever live in that type of lifestyle,” he continued. “I hope they can look in the mirror and realize it’s not them, it’s the person they’re with. That makes the difference. And that’s what made me a different person. When I’m confident and I have a positive environment around me, I’m unstoppable.”
That positive environment was also blissfully Dana White free.
“I went through a divorce, I was being smashed by the president of the UFC,” Ortiz said. “Always bashing me, always saying stuff just to … it was hell. That’s why I walked away in 2013. That’s why I walked away from the UFC. I just couldn’t handle it anymore.”
”But now that I’m graced and respected and honored the way I am with Golden Boy, I think other fighters will see that and they would like to do the same thing too. Where they’re able to have their own sponsorships, they’re able to be a part of the company, they’re able to get a part of the revenue that comes from the fight.”
And while ‘Golden Boy MMA 1’ may have underwhelmed many fans of the sport, Ortiz took one last shot at trying to convince MMA fighters out there that crossing over from the UFC could be very lucrative for them.
”Let’s change the game of mixed martial arts,” he said. “Let’s not make the fighters contractors. Let’s make the fighters partners. If they’re able to promote and they’re able to have a huge fan base, they should get a lot of the money.”
What do you think, Maniacs?