Back in 2007, White and Ortiz were set to face each other in a much ballyhooed exhibition boxing match, as part of their ongoing feud with one another. However, the bout was cancelled when Ortiz failed to show up for weigh-ins. Several years later, White gave an interview where he put Ortiz’s no-show down to being afraid, saying he used to regularly outbox Ortiz when they trained together many years ago. But speaking on Paddy Pimblett’s Chattin Pony Podcast recently (h/t Bloody Elbow), Ortiz gave his side of the story.
“It was supposed to be 50/50 [split] on any money that was revenue from the fight,” Ortiz said. “And then when it came about to the contract to sign — and I’ve always signed a bout agreement for a fight that I was doing — that wasn’t in it. I wasn’t making nothing of it. It was a lose-lose situation for me.
“They were negotiating one of my contracts and I said to Lorenzo, ‘We need to put this clause in that me and Dana will box. On TV.’ We were supposed to do it on Spike and ended up … the contract came and said I was making zero off of it. I was like, ‘Hold on a second, I thought you said we’d do 50/50?’ He’s like, ‘No, we can’t do that.’ I said, ‘Well, I’m not fighting. But just don’t go on the scale and say Tito’s a no-show and he’s afraid to fight me.’ Well, s***. That’s exactly what he did.
“I’m not fighting anybody for free. And he was doing it to make a name for himself, and he did well. It was a lose-lose situation for me and a win-win situation for him.”
For what it’s worth, Ortiz did back up White’s statement that he used to lose to White in the training room, however, “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” countered that White did not share the whole story.
“Me and Dana used to spar a lot when I first got into it, because I never knew how to box,” Ortiz said. “And as I got the better of him, and I got bigger and I got faster and I got stronger, I was the world champion, he’s like, ‘Alright, me and you can’t spar anymore.’ And I go, ‘Why??’ He goes, ‘Because you’re f****** hurting me, man!’ I’m like. ‘Alright, that’s fine.’”
Friction between Ortiz and White was one of the defining features of Zuffa’s early ownership of the UFC, and continued on for a long time. Ultimately though, Ortiz was still inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame in 2012, and over the years, he’s come to realize he has some regrets about how things got so hostile between them.
“We had good times together, and I miss those,” Ortiz said. “He was a really good dude, but business comes first, I get it. He was en route to making UFC huge to what it is today, and I really didn’t see that vision that he had. I wish I would’ve. I think I would’ve played things a little differently, but at the end of the day, I learned negotiation from him. It was either his way or no way. And that’s the way I thought, I said ‘F*** it, it’s my way or no way.’ And I think that might’ve been my little mistake, but he’s a few years older than me. We were so close friends that we talked s*** to each other all the time, that talking s*** is OK.
“I think he took to heart a lot of things that I said, and I took to heart a lot of things that he said. Of him calling me a p**** or a stupid man. It’s like, a stupid man can’t be a multimillionaire. A stupid man can’t run a business. A stupid man can’t run a family, I think, in my mind, and successfully.”