Tito Ortiz pissed a lot of fans off immediately following his split decision loss to Forrest Griffin at UFC 106. For months he led everyone to believe he was finally 100% healthy for the first time in years, then in one short post-fight interview with Joe Rogan threw all the goodwill he had built up out the window when he claimed he was actually seriously injured heading into the fight. His back was fine, but his neck was not, plus he said he had a broken orbital bone. Injuries serious enough to have everyone questioning how the NSAC ever cleared him to fight if they were true.
Well, we never really got any answers from the NSAC and we never really heard much more about it, but now Tito is talking about it again, and says it was even worse than he described before. Not only did he have bulging discs and a fractured orbital bone, he also a had a concussion and doesn’t remember anything from UFC 106.
“I have no more back problems, but other things started coming about. The first week of training (for UFC 106), I got bounced on my head. I had C6 and C7 discs pressing on my spinal cord. I shouldn’t have fought. But when you take 18 months off and bills have to be paid? I’ll suck it up…Two weeks before the fight, I was wrestling with one of my partners, and we collided heads. I fractured my orbital bone. I don’t remember the weigh-ins. I don’t remember the fight. All I remember was the beginning of the third round. I remember thinking in my head, ‘Don’t get taken down, and don’t get knocked down, and you win the fight.’ That’s all I remember. I don’t remember the press conference afterward. I don’t remember any of it at all. I had a concussion from the fractured orbital bone…I don’t remember driving down to Vegas. I don’t remember the weigh-ins. I don’t remember cutting weight. I guess one of my trainers, he was like, ‘Yeah, I walked in, and you had your plastics on. You had your headgear on, and you were just humming.’ I don’t remember any of it.”
Tito says the only reason he didn’t pull out of the fight was because Brock Lesnar already had and the UFC needed a main event, but if the situation were to ever arise again, he wouldn’t hesitate to withdraw if he had to.
The situation is actually quite concerning. Either Tito is grossly exaggerating his injuries or the NSAC completely failed at their jobs to protect the health and safety of this one fighter in particular. I’m not a doctor, but it doesn’t take much more than common sense to know a fighter shouldn’t be competing with a concussion, especially one that’s bad enough to cause short-term memory loss. Of course, it’s Tito so you never really know what to believe.
Once Tito was done talking about his health issues, he turned his focus to his next opponent Chuck Liddell. He expects the best Chuck Liddell when they meet this summer, but couldn’t help but share his thoughts on why Liddell has struggled so much in the Octagon in recent years. In short, he thinks Chuck was an alcoholic and it adversely affected his preparation.
“I think [Liddell] had a problem. A lot of people go through addiction. I think his deal was he was an alcoholic. He loved to party. When you have all the money in the world and you can do what you want, no one tells you, ‘No.’ You’re one of the baddest men on the Earth; no one tells you, ‘No.’ You can do what you want…Thank God that (UFC president) Dana (White) gave [Liddell] an intervention, and he’s sober now. He’s been sober since November, and he looks like a different person. It’s awesome. I’m proud of him – really proud of him. A lot of people can’t do that. I kind of went through that myself, but I looked in the mirror and I realized that wasn’t the life I wanted to lead…I’m proud he’s found sobriety. A lot of fighters, and a lot of people in general, don’t do that. They fall off the face of the earth, and sometimes they’ll find them in a hotel, dead, or behind a wheel, dead. Thank God Chuck isn’t one of those guys. Thank God he found sobriety, and I’m proud of him – very proud of him.”
Chuck’s partying was the first thing everyone pointed to when his downward slide began at UFC 71 at the right hand of Quinton “Rampage” Jackson. Liddell always denied that had anything to do with it — he just “got caught” — but it’s hard to deny the affects constant partying can have on someone’s body. Still, no one has ever gone as far as accusing Chuck of being an alcoholic, at least not publicly, and here Tito is, genuine or not, doing what he does best — stirring the pot in anticipation of another big fight with Chuck Liddell.
Update: Audio via Cagewriter