UFC Hall of Famer and current Bellator MMA light heavyweight contender Tito Ortiz recently appeared onSubmission Radio for a wide-ranging interview, that included the latest league signee, Chael Sonnen.Sonnen called out Ortiz, and Tito says he will take it, and that it will be his last fight.
The People’s Champ believes Sonnen’s release by the UFC could be part of a plan to see Tito lose.
“I was a little surprised that the UFC let him go, but did they let him go the same way they let Bonnar go, to give an opportunity to fight me? If so, I guess it’s a bad luck charm for UFC, a bad luck charm for Chael Sonnen, cause he called me out. And yes, I’m one of the bigger names in Bellator and he’d wanna complete against me, but it seems like just a blessing in disguise.
“I’ve been wanting to get my payback to Chael Sonnen for a while now, and this is not in fighting-wise, but in collegiate wrestling. We wrestled against each other in college and he pinned me in 30 seconds on my birthday. I got caught in a headlock, got put on my back and he almost choked me out unconscious and he pinned me and he won the match, and I’ve never forgot about that match.
“So I’ve always thought, will there be a way for me to fight Chael Sonnen? And all of a sudden we look back almost 21 years later that this fights going to happen. I’m really, really excited.”
Ortiz explained why he never looked for revenge while both were signed with the UFC.
“Just because 185-pounder and I was a 205-pounder and I didn’t want to go out, reaching out and fight Chael because all of a sudden everybody would be saying, ‘oh, Tito’s trying to pick on a smaller man,’ which is fine,” explained Ortiz. “Now he called me out and he wants to fight me, so he’s digging the grave a little deeper and deeper every time he talks, every time he mentions my name. I see some of the interviews he does and some of the things he says and it’s just a little corny. But at the same time, expect an ass-whooping that he’s gonna get.”
“He’s had his ups and downs. I think the big turning point was after he fought Brian Stann and he started talking. After that, we went into the dressing room after the fight and I spoke to him for a while, because like I said, we wrestled each other in college wrestling. I really had no envy against him, I wanted to see him become a superstar in the sport and I told him, ‘don’t stop talking’ and that’s when he was talking about Anderson Silva. I said, ‘don’t stop talking. If you keep talking, you’re going to make the fight bigger and bigger and bigger.’ Well then all of a sudden, Chael Sonnen, his image came out, the charisma came out and he became a superstar.
“Throughout the times, I’ve never really thought about fighting him because, like I said, he was a smaller man, but I was able to see his career grow and you gotta be proud of another wrestler to do this in this sport. But now we get to lock horns and get to compete against each other and may the best man win – which will be me.”
There have been questions as to whether Bellator, which does not drug test athletes, might be a better fit for Sonnen than the UFC, which does, given Sonnen’s record in this regard.
“Everybody always has that thought that a person who fails once, they’re going to fail again,” said Ortiz. “And I think he’s done that himself. I just want to make sure that Bellator does a good job of everybody fighting on an even playing field. That’s what’s number one.
“My whole career, every single one of my fights of 19 years, I think the only type supplement I’ve ever took, was creatine – of course the protein and things like that just for my muscles – but any type of steroid or things like that, I’ve always strayed away from, just because I’ve watched guys like Mark Coleman get knocked out from exhaustion.
“I’ve been a guy who kind of kept my cardio great, and I don’t ever wanna lose it. I wanna have a long career in mixed martial arts and I have, of 19 years. My body, yes has been broken down. But I’ve been able to rebuild it through surgeries and technology and just hard work, determination and the fact of just working hard through these things.
“But if he’s made one mistake, shame on him. If he’s made two mistakes, double shame on him. If he made three mistakes, it’s going to cost him $500,000 dollars, and that shouldn’t be good. So let’s see Chael as someone who’s not all juiced up, someone who’s not hard from the testosterone therapy he was using, or even the steroids, every type of steroids he was using.
“But I’m gonna cancel those out and not even think about those, because I get to fight the real Chael Sonnen. I’m not gonna fight a juiced up Chael Sonnen, I’m gonna fight a Chael Sonnen that’s off the stuff. So I’m excited because we’re fighting on an even playing field and, you know, how much weaker he’s gonna be, how soft he’s gonna be, it just he depends on it.
“I’m a monster when I get in the cage. I don’t use testosterone, I don’t use any of that type of stuff to make me stronger. I’ve been strong since I’ve been a freshman in high school when I started wrestling, and it hasn’t changed over the last 25 years. My strength just gets stronger and stronger and stronger. It’s because I push myself in training. I don’t need no extra supplements to do that because it just shows a sign of weakness and shows how weak Chael really is. Yes, he talks well, but when he gets in the cage and fights and he doesn’t have those supplements, is he going to be a weak person? I believe he will be.”
Sonnen had suggested the pair fight on November 19, but Ortiz says he will be in charge of scheduling.
“Whoa, Whoa, Whoa, hold on a second,” he said. “Chael calling me out on November 2nd? I’m the one who calls the shots, not him! We’ll fight in January. We’re not going to fight in November. I’m gonna give him some time to get used to being at his weight, off of steroids, so he can train through that time. November 17th is not happening. I’m calling the shots, not Chael Sonnen. Yeah he talks well, yeah he does his thing, but no, this is my weight class. I’m the one who calls the shots. Tito Ortiz is gonna call the shots. Chael Sonnen is going to have to wait until after the first of the year, because I’ve actually got a big fishing tournament to do. I’m gonna go win a few million to get back into camp, train and finish it up, and let’s get this fight done in January. That’s what I’m calling.”
“I wish my birthday landed on Saturday because it would be January 23rd and I’d get redemption for the last time he pinned me on my birthday. But it will be in January. January is my month and that’s when I want to fight. Because of all of these fights – makes the best sense, sells the best points on it. Let’s get redemption. Redemption of this fight will be on the same month as my birthday and that will be in January.”
“Saturday 21st. Look here, you’re helping me making dates. Sounds great to me.”
“Let’s make it in California, that way so we know he comes in clean. The drug testing in California is by far the best in the world, besides the Olympics. Let’s do it in California. That would be great.”
“How am I beating Chael? Gosh, do I catch him in a submission? Do I catch him with a punch? I really don’t know. Truthfully, I just see my hand being raised over him. That’s it. That would be an exciting fight.”
“I just hope he wants to fight and not just wrestle. I’m not gonna be there just to wrestle, I’m going to try and hurt him. That’s my job – trying to make it entertaining and I get my hand raised.”
So will this be Tito’s final fight?
“Just time will tell,” he said. “Right now it’s just concentration to get my body in shape and getting ready for Chael Sonnen. He’s a great athlete and a competitor and someone that I want to get redemption against. So right now, all I do is train, eat and sleep Chael Sonnen, man. I’m really just focused on getting a win. After that, well recalculate my future. But as of right now, I’m just taking it fight by fight.”