When it comes to media outlets UFC President Dana White will talk to, almost all of them are outside what he would call the ‘scumbag MMA media’. He’ll chat with old pal Kevin Iole and new bud Robbie Fox, but that’s about it.
When a big mainstream outlet comes knocking White always seems to find the time to talk, though. This time around it’s with GQ Sports. With that lifestyle mag he talked about a number of issues, including why he didn’t think UFC athletes were worth paying more than they currently are.
One of the softer questions GQ asked White was about his favourite UFC moment in the twenty or so years he’s been with the company. His answer was a predictable one.
“When Chuck Liddell knocked Tito Ortiz out,” said White (ht bjpenn.com). “That was my favorite, favorite moment that has ever happened in UFC history.”
Anyone who knows a little bit of MMA history knows about the feud between White and Ortiz.
White’s career in MMA started out with him managing Ortiz and Liddell. That changed in 2001 when the Fertitta’s purchased the UFC and installed him as President and CEO. The relationship with Liddell survived that upheaval, but the same can not be said of Ortiz.
White and Ortiz’s relationship devolved so much that, according to White, the pair once brawled on a private plane.
In 2007 when Ortiz was negotiating a new contract he asked Lorenzo Fertitta to include a stipulation where he and White would have to box for three three-minute rounds. White signed off on the stipulation and SpikeTV covered White’s training leading up to the bout.
The fight never went ahead, though, with Ortiz pulling out for an undisclosed reason.
Ortiz’s rivalry with Liddell is also well known.
The pair first fought at UFC 47 in 2004 with Liddell stopping Ortiz with a second round KO. The pair met again at UFC 66 in 2006. Liddell also won this time around, beating Ortiz by third round TKO to win the UFC light heavyweight title.
They met for a third (and let’s hope final) time in 2018 on a Golden Boy Promotions card. Ortiz won that fight by first round KO.
In recent years it seems as if White and Ortiz have buried the hatchet. In 2012 White inducted Ortiz into the UFC Hall of Fame’s pioneer wing.