Wednesday, March 28, 2007

ORTIZ STILL GUNNING FOR WHITE


By Loretta Hunt

“No-Show” Fighter Says No Contract Prevented Bout

Tito Ortiz’s failure to make a scheduled weigh-in last Friday for an exhibition boxing match with Ultimate Fighting Championship president Dana White was not as it seemed, says the California fighter.

According to Ortiz, he called White five days before the bout and clearly stated that the fight was off because a requested compensatory contract was never put in place.

Nevada State Athletic Commission Executive Director Keith Kizer said last Saturday that White had told him he believed the bout was happening. White weighed in at 197 pounds Friday, making his requisite requirement to compete. White refused comment last week on the rescinded bout and was unreachable for remarks today.

The proposed three-round, three-minute bout was to have taken place last Saturday behind closed doors at the Ultimate Fighter Training Facility in Las Vegas, Nevada. Highly publicized for its sensational twist, the match-up was agreed upon as part of Ortiz’s 2005 renegotiation with the organization. But once the bout was suggested as a TV special and pay-per-view event, Ortiz believed compensatory considerations were in order.

“I expected this to be in a gym between just me and him,” says Ortiz. “But, as we started training, I thought maybe there was a chance to make some money off this.”

Ortiz says he suggested to White they explore videotaping the bout and propose it as a pay-per-view to the public. Ortiz claims White was favorable to the idea and that it was verbally agreed there that the two would split any profits 50-50.

The bout was presented to Spike TV, who decided to produce a freestanding special promoting the event and the history of the tumultuous pair who were once manager and client.

Ortiz says he accommodated Spike TV crews for two days during his training for his Dec. 30 UFC 66 bout against Chuck Liddell, then turned down multiple engagements for a month to train for the match-up against the former amateur boxer.

Ortiz made numerous requests for a contract and compensatory stipulations to be drafted. At the fighter’s request, Ortiz’s girlfriend Jenna Jameson also intervened on Ortiz’s behalf, requesting Ortiz get executive producer credit for the project while inquiring about promotional possibilities for the fighter’s Punishment Clothing brand.

Overseeing producer Craig Piligian spoke with Jameson, says Ortiz, but the couple did not hear back till a week before the event with a message that he would not be compensated in any fashion.

“As a person and as a fighter, I have to respect myself. People says they love the Tito Ortiz that used to fight for free. Listen. I have a family and a son. I’ve been in this sport for ten years and I won’t get taken advantage of. “

Unaware the Nevada State Athletic Commission has staffed a weigh-in for the single bout last Friday, Ortiz contends it was the promotion’s responsibility to make the regulatory body aware the fight wasn’t happening. NSAC Executive Keith Kizer stated last week he would not recommend the bout to the Commission Board again.

“He [White] continued to go on to make me look bad,” says Ortiz, “and never told people at all.”

Despite the missed match, Ortiz says his business relationship with his primary employer remains intact.

“We’re cool. It’s business,” says Ortiz. “We had a conversation after and it was cool. We did understand that. It’s nothing personal. It’s strictly business.”

Getting wind White had intonated to the NSAC the majority of the bout’s proceeds would go to charity when it was approved with a 3-1 vote on March 5, the light heavyweight wrestler says he’d be willing to give the exhibition a go again for a good cause.

“I didn’t hear anything about that,” says Ortiz. “Let’s do it all for charity. How about it goes to the U.S. troops?”

A Spike TV representative said the network still plans to air the documentary-style special on April 12 sans the climatic resolution, and Ortiz is convinced the grand finale will eventually take place.

“Me and Dana are going to box for sure,” he says. “I guarantee you.”


2 comments:

Manic Suicide said...

I sent you an email, but I geuss you didn't get it, or whatever. Anyways, check your hotmail once in a while eh.

EvilMaster said...

Finally!