There was no way Tito Ortiz could end his career without some controversy. It’s not in his DNA.
The People’s Champ tapped out Chael Sonnen in the main event of Bellator 170 on Saturday night with a choke so unorthodox that some fans and fighter said it was a work or a fix. For the record, a ‘work’ is a contest in which both competitors know the pre determined the outcome. In a ‘fix’ only one knows. A real fight is a ‘shoot.’
When people who actually train went into the gym and experimented with it, the choke seemed to work. And during a recent fan Q&A, Ortiz dismissed the speculation.
“All these people are saying it was a fixed fight, those are the ones that are just f***king haters,” said Ortiz, as transcribed by Anton Tabuena for BE. “Believe me I tried to punch him hard in the face. I tried to elbow him in the face, hard. He gave his back, and I’m going to take the choke.
“Yeah, ‘really fixed’, man’s going to need neck surgery. That’s how fixed the fight was, you stupid asses. C’mon people, don’t be so ignorant. Don’t be so dumb. People who do believe it, don’t be so gullible. You guys see how red his face was? I almost ripped his neck off, I almost broke his head, I almost broke his jaw, to tell you the truth. I was squeezing for dear life, that’s for sure.”
UFC Hall of Famer Tito Ortiz had his final fight in the main event of Bellator 170, tapping out Chael Sonnen. The choke was unorthodox to the point that a number of fans and even some fighters claimed it was a work (both fighters knew it was fake) or a fix (only one fighter knew).
During a recent appearance on Submission Radio, Tito was not impressed.
“I wanted to perform the best I possibly could and leave it all out there,” said Ortiz. “And to think that 14 weeks only lasted two minutes and five seconds, it just makes me frustrated because I wanted it to be a little longer. I wanted to be able to elbow Chael in the face a little more. But once he gave up his back, I couldn’t not take the choke. And believe me, I was squeezing him so hard. People saw how purple his face was. I was trying to make him go unconscious, but McCarthy had to rip me off.”
There have been accusations that Tito tapped when caught in a Chael choke, and The People’s Champ was asked what was going through his mind.
“I know exactly what was going through my mind – it was to defend the choke and not get taken down, don’t let them have my back,” he explained. “For people to say that the fight was fixed, f***in’ … it’s just ridiculous. Are you kidding me right now? I’m gonna give 14 weeks of my life, I’m gonna miss out on a Thanksgiving, miss out on a Christmas, miss out on a New Year’s to have a fixed fight? I’ve never been a part of that. If I wanted to do a fixed fight, I’d be doing WWE.
“For people to say that, that’s just really disrespectful. For any fighters to say that, that’s disrespectful – especially fighters that I helped out through their career. It’s just a disrespect. I worked so damn hard. The s*** that Chael said, I hate the guy. I held onto that choke. I was trying to break his neck and I had the choke over his chin. I was still squeezing the shit out of him. I wanted to break his chin. I wanted to break his neck.
“This had nothing to do with fixed at all. I was getting paid the same amount of money no matter what. At the end of the day, when I’m stepping in that cage, I’m gonna fight for my name. It’s not about money, it’s not about who’s gonna win or lose, it’s about me winning. That’s all that matters.
“And why would they set up Chael to lose if he’s signed a five-fight deal? It just doesn’t make any sense. And for someone to say that I tapped, people didn’t even watch the position my hands were at. And I was fighting the hands. That’s what I was trying to do, fighting the hands. And I don’t know…. that’s nonsense. I haven’t really responded to anybody on the internet because honestly, you’re the first person that I responded to because we’re able to talk about it and nobody will get my words out of text through Twitter or tweets. So that’s just ridiculous.
“That’s disrespecting my career, that’s disrespecting my legacy and the hard work I put in, the sacrifice I had away from my children and my family and Thanksgiving and Christmas and New Year’s. I’ve sacrificed so much for this fight. People see me in the best shape. That’s the best shape I’ve been in since 2006. I was shredded. I cut down from 225 down to 204.8 within two-and-a-half days. There is nothing fixed about anything at all. I dislike Chael. I still dislike Chael, because he had an opportunity to apologize and he didn’t apologize because he talked personal stuff about me. The guy’s an a**hole, he’s always going to be an a**hole.”
Ortiz was asked if retiring on such a high note made his consider fighting again.
“Not really, just because of how many surgeries I’ve had,” he replied. “You’ve got to understand right now, that my left arm is going in and out from being numb and not numb. That scares me. I don’t want to risk a chance of my going paralyzed for more fights. In 20 years, I’ve done everything I’ve wanted to do in MMA. It’s not hard because I push myself to the maximum. I’ve done as much as I possibly can do with my body, and my body can’t do anymore.
“I’m able to not spar anymore, which is great. I’m really, really happy. I don’t want to get punched in the face anyways. I’m able to not be away from my family for such a long time where, yes I’m still at home getting training, but when I miss out on their school projects or miss out on giving them a kiss before bedtime and things like that because I’m training, that’s when I don’t want to miss out on.
“My son sits on my lap after hard training and goes, ‘Dad, I miss you.’ And I’m still in the same house and I’m still in the same roof, but these guys sleep earlier because my training hours are totally different. I’m not gonna miss it. No, I’m not gonna miss it. I’m okay with it. Twenty years is like, what else do I have to give? I can go on to something bigger and better now, you know, still stay in shape.
“But I’m not sure exactly what I want to do or what I’m gonna do, but there’s just so many avenues for me to do. I’m gonna take about a month off and enjoy some fishing, enjoy my family and just go back to the drawing board and find something that I love to do, something that I’m in love with. Something not that I have to do, but something I love to do. I think that’s what job’s easier and makes someone’s career easier, is doing something that I love to do.”
Ortiz also discussed his relationship with UFC president Dana White, which has gotten so contentious at points that boss quipped the pair needed couples therapy. But White send a respectful message to the fighter through his girlfriend, former UFC ring card girl Amber Nicole Miller, who remained in touch with White.
“At the end of the day, me and Dana, we’re really good friends,” said Ortiz. “We had our differences, we had our dislikes towards each other just for business reasons and it got a little personal a couple times. I made a few mistakes because there was another person who was involved in some of the decisions that I probably shouldn’t have made, a la the Dana Shirt.
“The text itself was saying, ‘That was a great job and that’s the way you should have gone out on top.’ And those were the texts that Amber got from him, which was, it was cool. I think it was yesterday I reached out to him, you know, I reached out and said thank you for the text and I didn’t get no response. So maybe he’s still mad at me [laughs].”