Former UFC light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz (pictured) hasn’t fought professionally since losing to Forrest Griffin last July at UFC 148, just hours after he was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame. Despite the buzz Ortiz is trying to generate with a potential comeback, UFC president Dana White says Ortiz should continue to stay as far away from an MMA fight as possible.
“Who gives a [expletive]?” White responded Saturday when asked about Ortiz’s possible return to the sport he helped build. “Tito’s lost every fight he’s had for the last three years or something? He won one fight in the last three years, against [Ryan] Bader.
“Tito hung in there and made some more money. He was a guy who was around in the early days, and it’s time for Tito to move on.”
Ortiz, who is now 38 years old, was the face of the UFC long before it became THE UFC. However, he hung up his gloves with just a 16-11-1 record, having gone only 1-7-1 over the final seven years of his career. White claims “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” (I refuse to acknowledge Ortiz as “The People’s Champ” because everybody knows only The Rock can don that moniker) is trying desperately to remain relevant because his bank account is running on fumes.
“Tito’s going to have to do whatever Tito’s gotta do,” White added. “Tito is the guy who back in the early days was like, ‘I’m going to retire young from this sport. I’m going to become an actor, and my Punishment [Athletics] clothing line is going through the roof. I’m not going to be that guy who hangs around the sport too long.’ Does anybody remember all that [expletive]?
“Now Tito’s like, ‘Yeah, I think I’m going to come back. I haven’t won a fight in three years, and I’m old.’ Obviously, Tito needs money. That’s the only reason he would come back.”
When asked if the UFC still has rights over Ortiz or if he could sign with any promotion he chooses, White wasn’t certain about his contractual status. However, White suggested finding out wasn’t sitting atop his priority list.
“I don’t know the answer to that question,” White said. “I have no idea. I’m so concerned about it, I’ve checked it out and looked at it.”