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Tito Ortiz Discusses Sonnen, McGregor, More

As always, Tito Ortiz was an open book during a recent interview with Submission Radio.

Below is the complete transcript from the interview where Ortiz talks about his possible fight with Chael Sonnen, what he thinks of Conor McGregor and his feud with Dana White.

Why Tito believes there might have been a hidden reason why UFC let Sonnen go to Bellator to fight him and why he wants payback from Chael

“I was a little surprised that the UFC let him go, but did they let him go the same way they let (Stephen) Bonnar go, to give an opportunity to fight me? If so, I guess it’s a bad luck charm for UFC, a bad luck charm for Chael Sonnen, cause he called me out. And yes, I’m one of the bigger names in Bellator and he’d wanna complete against me, but it seems like just a blessing in disguise. I’ve been wanting to get my payback to Chael Sonnen for a while now, and this is not in fighting-wise, but in collegiate wrestling. We wrestled against each other in college and he pinned me in 30 seconds on my birthday. I got caught in a headlock, got put on my back and he almost choked me out unconscious and he pinned me and he won the match, and I’ve never forgot about that match. So I’ve always thought, will there be a way for me to fight Chael Sonnen? And all of a sudden we look back almost 21 years later that this fights going to happen. I’m really, really excited.”

If Tito ever tried to avenge the wrestling loss by fighting Chael in the UFC

“No, not really, just because 185-pounder and I was a 205-pounder and I didn’t want to go out, reaching out and fight Chael because all of a sudden everybody would be saying, “oh, Tito’s trying to pick on a smaller man,” which is fine. Now he called me out and he wants to fight me, so he’s digging the grave a little deeper and deeper every time he talks, every time he mentions my name. I see some of the interviews he does and some of the things he says and it’s just a little corny. But at the same time, expect an ass-whooping that he’s gonna get.”

What Tito thinks about Sonnen’s career, which included highs like his first fight with Silva and lows such as his suspension from the sport

“He’s had his ups and downs. I think the big turning point was after he fought Brian Stann and he started talking. After that, we went into the dressing room after the fight and I spoke to him for a while, because like I said, we wrestled each other in college wrestling. I really had no envy against him, I wanted to see him become a superstar in the sport and I told him, “don’t stop talking”, and that’s when he was talking about Anderson Silva. I said, “don’t stop talking. If you keep talking, you’re going to make the fight bigger and bigger and bigger”. Well then all of a sudden, Chael Sonnen, his image came out, the charisma came out and he became a superstar. Throughout the times, I’ve never really thought about fighting him because, like I said, he was a smaller man, but I was able to see his career grow and you gotta be proud of another wrestler to do this in this sport. But now we get to lock horns and get to compete against each other and may the best man win – which will be me.”

If Tito worries about Chael Sonnen failing a drug test in Bellator

“Everybody always has that thought that a person who fails once, they’re going to fail again. And I think he’s done that himself. I just want to make sure that Bellator does a good job of everybody fighting on an even playing field. That’s what’s number one. My whole career, every single one of my fights of 19 years, I think the only type supplement I’ve ever took, was creatine – of course the protein and things like that just for my muscles – but any type of steroid or things like that, I’ve always strayed away from, just because I’ve watched guys like Mark Coleman get knocked out from exhaustion. I’ve been a guy who kind of kept my cardio great, and I don’t ever wanna lose it. I wanna have a long career in mixed martial arts and I have, of 19 years. My body, yes has been broken down. But I’ve been able to rebuild it through surgeries and technology and just hard work, determination and the fact of just working hard through these things. But if he’s made one mistake, shame on him. If he’s made two mistakes, double shame on him. If he made three mistakes, it’s going to cost him $500,000 dollars, and that shouldn’t be good. So let’s see Chael as someone who’s not all juiced up, someone who’s not hard from the testosterone therapy he was using, or even the steroids, every type of steroids he was using. But I’m gonna cancel those out and not even think about those, because I get to fight the real Chael Sonnen. I’m not gonna fight a juiced up Chael Sonnen, I’m gonna fight a Chael Sonnen that’s off the stuff. So I’m excited because we’re fighting on an even playing field and, you know, how much weaker he’s gonna be, how soft he’s gonna be, it just he depends on it. I’m a monster when I get in the cage. I don’t use testosterone, I don’t use any of that type of stuff to make me stronger. I’ve been strong since I’ve been a freshman in high school, when I started wrestling and it hasn’t changed over the last 25 years. My strength just gets stronger and stronger and stronger. It’s because I push myself in training. I don’t need no extra supplements to do that, because it just shows a sign of weakness and shows how weak Chael really is. Yes, he talks well, but when he gets in the cage and fights and he doesn’t have those supplements, is he going to be a weak person? I believe he will be.”

Tito rejects the November 19th date offered by Chael, sets the real date that the fight will take place

“Whoa, Whoa, Whoa, hold on a second. Chael calling me out on November 2nd? I’m the one who calls the shots, not him! We’ll fight in January. We’re not going to fight in November. I’m gonna give him some time to get used to being at his weight, off of steroids, so he can train through that time. November 17th is not happening. I’m calling the shots, not Chael Sonnen. Yeah he talks well, yeah he does his thing, but no, this is my weight class. I’m the one who calls the shots. Tito Ortiz is gonna call the shots. Chael Sonnen is going to have to wait until after the first of the year, because I’ve actually got a big fishing tournament to do. I’m gonna go win a few million to get back into camp, train and finish it up and let’s get this fight done in January. That’s what I’m calling.”

On the fight being in January

“It would be great, I wish my birthday landed on Saturday because it would be January 23rd and I’d get redemption for the last time he pinned me on my birthday. But it will be in January. January is my month and that’s when I want to fight, because of all of these fights, (this) makes the best sense, sells the best points on it. Let’s get redemption. Redemption of this fight will be on the same month as my birthday and that will be in January.”

If January 21st is the date Tito wants, since it’s a Saturday

“Saturday 21st. Look here, you’re helping me making dates. Sounds great to me.”

On wanting this fight in California to make sure Chael is tested properly and comes in clean

“We can do better than that – let’s make it in California, that way so we know he comes in clean. The drug testing in California is by far the best in the world, besides the Olympics. Let’s do it in California. That would be great.”

Since he was in a similar position to Conor McGregor back in the day, if Tito believes there will be a falling out between the UFC and McGregor

“Here’s the difference between me and McGregor – I did every press junket, every press thing, I travelled the country for UFC, I never said no. My biggest thing was the payment amount of money that I was getting paid per fight. When you’re making 200 grand per fight, that’s pennies. When Conor is making five million a fight to ten mill in a fight, he should be jumping through hoops for these guys. The money he’s making is just phenomenal, and I’m proud of the kid. I applaud him for doing that, but he’s got to put in the work. This truly is not just about the fight in general, it’s about building the fights, it’s about going out and doing the promotion for the company and not saying no to things. So that’s something that I always did. I always got talked bad upon by the UFC, because I was the person trying to get more money for the fighters. Now Conor is at that point where he’s getting more money for the fighters and he understands he can get more money for himself. He’s one of the highest paid MMA fighters in the world today and that’s because he talks great, but he has to do the work behind those skills. I mean, that’s what really matters. You don’t want to be a flash in the pan. Let’s move ten years or fifteen years from now and what’s Conor doing fifteen years from now? Is he still making money, or is he retired and walked away a billionaire? That would be awesome to see, but at the end of the day, it’s truly about the company. If you’re going to help support the sport of mixed martial arts, you gotta be behind the company and help promote your name, help promote the company and do these things because you’re getting paid so much money. And with the UFC, he’s doing that. And with Bellator, I’m doing that. I go out and I still do all the promotion they ask for me to do and I don’t get paid a penny for it. Even when I’m promoting other fighters, I’m still not getting paid for it. And I’m not complaining about it, but I’m just saying, I always do the hard work that’s needed and that’s what’s number one. You gotta be a company man, no matter what.”

If this fight with Chael is the last time we see Tito fight before he retires

“Just time will tell. Right now it’s just concentration to get my body in shape and getting ready for Chael Sonnen. He’s a great athlete and a competitor and someone that I want to get redemption against. So right now, all I do is train, eat and sleep Chael Sonnen, man. I’m really just focused on getting a win. After that, well recalculate my future. But as of right now, I’m just taking it fight by fight.”

His prediction on how he beats Sonnen

“How am I beating Chael? Gosh, do I catch him in a submission? Do I catch him with a punch? I really don’t know. Truthfully, I just see my hand being raised over him. That’s it. That would be an exciting fight.”

“I just hope he wants to fight and not just wrestle. I’m not gonna be there just to wrestle, I’m going to try and hurt him. That’s my job – trying to make it entertaining and I get my hand raised.”

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