UFC President Dana White is renowned for his passion for combat sports. Before assuming the role of UFC president, he made his mark as a boxing coach in Boston and later ventured into fighter management before becoming the head of the UFC.
During his earlier days, White was instrumental in managing the careers of fighters like Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz. However, their relationship took a sour turn when Ortiz felt undervalued and believed that White’s interests no longer aligned with his own.
This discord culminated in a proposed boxing match between Dana White and the former light heavyweight champion, Tito Ortiz. The origins of this unique challenge lie in a contractual negotiation when White sought better terms. At that time, SEG, the company that owned UFC, informed White that there was no more money available.
Ortiz, seizing an opportunity to settle his grievances, requested a stipulation in his contract that would allow him to engage in a boxing match against the UFC president. Ortiz aimed to ridicule White, who took the challenge earnestly and began rigorous training for the bout. He even made weight at the weigh-in, only for Ortiz to withdraw from the match.
Michael Bisping, former UFC middleweight champion and color commentator, witnessed these events firsthand, having joined the UFC around that time. Bisping recalled, “Dana being a lover of the sweet science, loved this idea. The problem was he was 37 years old and he was living the life of a UFC president. So, he needed some time to get into shape. And that is what he was doing.”
He added, “And by the way, I had signed with the UFC around this time. Let me tell you, Dana was taking this very, very seriously. He would work out wherever he could.”
Fortunately for White, the much-anticipated bout never materialized. Nonetheless, Ortiz remained disgruntled by the way White managed his career, claiming that he was subsequently erased from UFC’s history.
Their rift remains unresolved. In a recent podcast, Dana White openly criticized Ortiz for some of his actions during his time as one of the promotion’s biggest stars:
“Here is the problem with Tito and Tito, just a really dumb human being. He’s not intelligent at all. He’s very, very f**king stupid. Okay, let’s start there. And, I mean, look at him. Speak publicly any time. Look, Google Tito Ortiz talking OC. You know, and I don’t have any beef with Tito anymore. And I don’t. I can tell you, you’re f**king stupid, Tito.”
White continued, shedding light on Ortiz’s financial demands during fight negotiations: “Tito would call and say, I’m not going to show up unless you pay me another $150,000 or whatever the number was. He would do this on the regular, you know, and I would go f**king crazy.”
In conclusion, White reflected on loyalty in the fight business and the contrasting paths of Ortiz and Liddell, stating, “Loyalty goes both ways, not a one-way street loyalty. Loyalty is a two-way street. And, you know, we’ve had a lot of those great relationships with a lot of these guys and girls.”