Friday, March 30, 2007

Interview: Tito Ortiz

MMA Sports: Your last fight with Chuck Liddell, your stand up looked great, you were trading with him, what were your thoughts on the fight and do you think it was stopped prematurely?
Tito: I think it was stopped prematurely, I watched the fight four or five times and when I'm getting hit in the face and I'm not intelligently defending myself, then you stop the fight. When someone's punching on the top of the forearm or you defend yourself all the time with your hands up, then you don't stop the fight. I kind of take into consideration, why wasn't John McCarthy the ref of it? John McCarthy's refereed all my championship fights and Chuck Liddell's championship fights and pretty much all of the championship fights in the UFC history, why all of a sudden they are going to change it, let somebody in who is an amateur ref do it.

MMA Sports: Do you want to fight Chuck again?
Tito: Right now, UFC want me to do a couple of fights and get back into number one contention. For me I am still the number one contender, I don't see anyone else beating me. Whoever it takes me to beat down and put me back up in the number one position, I'm just willing to step up and fight. That rematch is one thing that I'm looking forward to have happen. The fight that we had I made a couple of mistakes and the next time I won't make the same mistakes.

MMA Sports: What would you do differently?
Tito: A little bit more head movement, I think a little bit of a confidence issue, I have to have a lot more confidence in what I do, I've been doing it for so long now, I can't be second guessing of what I'm going to be doing. I just got to go out there and do it.

MMA Sports: You and Jenna Jameson, how did you both meet?
Tito: We met on My Space. She has and I have and we sent messages back and forward and she said she was coming to a fight when I fought Shamrock the second time and we just started talking from there and started dating. We have been together happily ever since.

MMA Sports: What is it you admire most about her?
Tito: The thing what I most admire about her is her work ethic. She is a very intelligent bright woman with some of the business side of things she does and it's very impressive to see a woman at her statue doing some of the things she does. She helps me now out with some of the contract negotiations things that I have, so it's really good to have someone as powerful as her next to my side and as smart as she is and how beautiful she is a blessing in disguise.

MMA Sports: Would you consider her a positive influence in your life, both as a fighter and a person?
Tito: Yes a complete positive influence. She has taught me a lot about the business game that I have never known before and I'm really happy to be with her and having her by my side. It's really nice.

MMA Sports: You're the owner of punishment athletics, just how big is it?
Tito: Punishment Athletics started in 1999 and I started with 500 bucks and it became a multimillion dollar company. It's just one of the things that is going to get bigger and bigger and its going to start taking over.

MMA Sports: How much are you involved in the business side of it?
Tito: About 50-60% of all it but as you know I am 100% owner of the company. People who work under it do amazing jobs with some of the stuff we have been doing, there's a lot of little small business points that we have to make sure we do right for a clothing company and we have been doing them, making sure we get great designs, make sure we get great clothing that people will like to wear.

MMA Sports: Is there any fighters in particular you’d like to fight?
Tito: Chuck Liddell of course, I'm not going to let chuck keep my world title. But it really don't matter to me, anybody, anyone they put in front of me I am willing to fight, it really doesn't matter at all. I have never really been a person to pick and choose the fighters who I fight, as long as everything was right, money wise and so forth, the contracts and there a lot of side stuff that people really do not pay attention to. I just want to make sure that I never get taken advantage off. Whoever they put in front of me I have no problem fighting.

MMA Sports: Did you and Ken Shamrock really dislike each other that much or was some of it show?
Tito: In my mind I thought it was 100% real, I take it very seriously. I really felt like I was being disrespected by him and I'm not just going to let someone disrespect me. I'm going to stand up for what I believe in. Me shutting him up each and every time quicker and quicker made it that much more glorious for me to know what I did.

MMA Sports: How did you get the nickname the Huntington Beach Bad Boy?
Tito: When I first starting fighting in the UFC, I was cocky, in my mind confident, flamboyant, had a lot of charisma. I talked smack and when I talked smack I backed it up. I was from Huntington Beach and I had a bad boy image, the flames on my shorts, bleached hair, some of the things I said. I spoke my mind and that's when they gave me the nickname the Huntington Beach Bad Boy.

MMA Sports: How did you get into the UFC?
Tito: I was training with Tank Abbott, I thought I would give it a try and see what I can do in there. So in May 30th 1997 I fought my first time in the UFC and I stopped the guy in 22 seconds.

MMA Sports: You had a difficult up bringing, at 13 raised by a single mom, at the wrong side of the law at times, how did you end up here?
Tito: I really got to see how hard life would really be for us, living in motels, living in cars, people's garages, I really didn't want that for myself. I like the luxury things, I like the nice cars and nice houses and I got to see that at a young age with some of my older friends and I was like how come I can't have that. Well I came to realize that its comes with a lot of hard work and when I got into high school, I kind of changed everything around where I took wrestling, and all of a sudden when I graduated I was like wow maybe this is my chance. So I got educated and went to college and became a fighter. It was a chance to make really great money. I started my clothing company; it was like my business took over. With hard work and dedication you can achieve anything in life as long as you work as hard as you possibly can at it.


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