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‘Lose-lose situation’ - Tito Ortiz explains his side on planned boxing match with Dana White

Tito Ortiz talks about his would-be boxing match with Dana White in 2007, along with some lessons he learned from the UFC president.

Tito Ortiz at the UFC 121 weigh-ins in 2010.
Tito Ortiz at the UFC 121 weigh-ins in 2010.
Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

UFC president Dana White and Hall of Famer Tito Ortiz were scheduled for a boxing match in 2007. Contracts were drawn up and everything, only for it to fall through in the end.

White did a Q&A in 2014, claiming that the reason why the fight didn’t happen was that he “used to beat the living shit” out of Ortiz in sparring.

Eight years later, “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” and former Mayor Pro Tempore of his hometown shared his side of the story with Paddy Pimblett on the Chattin’ Pony Podcast.

“It was supposed to be 50/50 (split) on any money that was revenue from the fight. And then when it came about to the contract to sign — and I’ve always signed a bout agreement for a fight that I was doing — that wasn’t in it. I wasn’t making nothing of it. It was a lose-lose situation for me.

“They were negotiating one of my contracts and I said to Lorenzo, ‘We need to put this clause in that me and Dana will box. On TV.’ We were supposed to do it on Spike and ended up… the contract came and said I was making zero off of it.

“I was like, ‘Hold on a second, I thought you said we’d do 50/50?’ He’s like, ‘No, we can’t do that.’ I said, ‘Well, I’m not fighting. But just don’t go on the scale and say Tito’s a no-show and he’s afraid to fight me.’ Well, shit. That’s exactly what he did.

“I’m not fighting anybody for free. And he was doing it to make a name for himself, and he did well. It was a lose-lose situation for me and a win-win situation for him.”

Ortiz did corroborate White’s statements of their sparring sessions, but he remembers it a bit differently.

“Me and Dana used to spar a lot when I first got into it, ‘cause I never knew how to box. And as I got the better of him, and I got bigger and I got faster and I got stronger, I was the world champion, he’s like ‘alright, me and you can’t spar anymore.’ And I go, ‘Why??’ He goes, ‘’Cause you’re f—ng hurting me, man!’ I’m like. ‘Alright, that’s fine.’”

Ortiz did admit that he shared some fun times with White, and even revealed an important lesson he learned from the UFC boss.

“We had good times together, and I miss those. He was a really good dude, but business comes first, I get it. He was en route to making UFC huge to what it is today, and I really didn’t see that vision that he had. I wish I would’ve.

“I think I would’ve played things a little differently, but at the end of the day, I learned negotiation from him. It was either his way or no way. And that’s the way I thought, I said ‘F—k it, it’s my way or no way.’

“And I think that might’ve been my little mistake, but he’s a few years older than me. We were so close friends that we talked shit to each other all the time that talking shit is OK.

“I think he took to heart a lot of things that I said, and I took to heart a lot of things that he said. Of him calling me a pussy or a stupid man. It’s like, a stupid man can’t be a multimillionaire. A stupid man can’t run a business. A stupid man can’t run a family. I think, in my mind, and successfully.”

In May, the 47-year-old Ortiz broached the idea of a possible UFC return against fellow OG Mauricio “Shogun” Rua. His last fight happened in 2019 against former WWE talent Alberto Del Rio, where he won via first-round submission.