On January 1, 2009, the state of California made it illegal to text while operating a motor vehicle. Although the base fine is only $20 (50 bones for subsequent convictions), a texting incident over the weekend cost former UFC light heavyweight champ Tito Ortiz much more.
“I was taking a day off from training and driving in my Rolls-Royce Phantom, my pride and joy, and I looked down at my phone for literally one second because I had a text – and I crashed my Phantom,” Ortiz shared in a blog for ESPN.com.
“I let my attention slip for one second … I just couldn’t believe what I’d done.”
Ortiz was cruising with his adolescent son Jacob at the time. Neither were injured, as they were only traveling at a rate of 20 mph, but “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” shed some painful tears, nonetheless.
“I really, literally cried. Seriously, I cried,” Ortiz admitted. “There will be some guys reading this going ‘Really? Tito cried over a fender bender?’ but I know other guys will understand a man’s love for his vehicle.
“I worked so hard to get that car. That’s a unique vehicle and I was so dumb to look at my phone.”
Thankfully for Ortiz, the passengers in the car he hit didn’t report any injuries. Furthermore, the $45,000 worth of damages done to his $300,000 Rolls was already paid for from his last Octagon outing.
“Putting it another way: after tax, that’s my entire “Submission of the Night” bonus from choking out Ryan Bader at UFC 132,” Ortiz expressed.
Although the 36-year-old managed to sidestep this landmine, Ortiz learned a valuable and expensive lesson. Jacob got the message because he was riding shotgun, but for those that think it won’t happen to them, Ortiz wanted his young fans to learn from his mistake.
“Seriously, kids, don’t text and drive,” Ortiz stated.