Tito Ortiz recently spoke with MMANews.com to discuss his upcoming Bellator 131 bout with Stephan Bonnar this Saturday on Spike TV. During the interview Ortiz discussed why the fight with Bonnar is the most personal match he's ever had, the "masked man" incident with Justin McCully, his relationship with Dana White, his thoughts on working with TNA Wrestling again, Floyd Mayweather getting in the MMA business, performance-enhancing drugs and much more.
Here are some highlights:
His current relationship with Ken Shamrock:
"There's no animosity towards me and Ken [Shamrock]. Me and Ken are actually friends now. It went from acquaintance to being friends now. We talked on a few occasions, you know, he's an awesome guy. He pushed me to the next level when we competed against each other. He just made me that much better of a fighter to train harder. There was a time there where, in my first fight against him, I had a little bit of fear, you know? He was the "World's Most Dangerous Man" and I wasn't sure how good I really was. But then my first fight did show how good I really was and then my confidence just built more and more and more. Knowing that a young kid who started this game as an amateur, competing in the UFC for free at my first UFC — UFC 13 — and becoming a world champion within a year and a half. I saw that I could compete against these guys who had been doing it [for] ten, twelve years. But after I competed against Ken, we built up a relationship throughout time. It's just a respect value I think, and he respects me a lot."
If he plans to ever work again with TNA Wrestling:
"Well, you know professional wrestling is what got me into wrestling when I started high school. I walked into the wrestling room in high school and thought, 'where's the ring at?' but there was no ring. I didn't really associate collegiate wrestling to professional wrestling. When I did pro wrestling with TNA, I liked it. I dug it, you know? I got a chance to meet Hulk Hogan. I hung out and talked to him for a couple of hours and it seemed like he's a normal person just like me. We just go through a lot of different things, but we have a lot of similar things that correlate. Wrestling was really, really fun. I digged it. Dixie Carter was an amazing person to work with. Everybody on their staff were amazing people to work with. The wrestlers are great guys. There's a theatrical side to it that I loved of course, but there's a competitive side to me that loves to fight. If there's an opportunity for me to do it again, of course I'd do it again. It's fun and fans got to understand that there's a difference. There's a pro fighter and there's a pro wrestler — we're two separate worlds and I don't like to join them together too much, that's why I haven't really got in and wrestled. I came in as a referee and then I came in and messed around with [Quinton] "Rampage" [Jackson] and it's all choreographed of course, but my professional side right now is fighting. It's my true goal. I want to win a world title here in Bellator."
The rumors that Floyd Mayweather wants to get into MMA promotion:
"Of course there's room. There's lots of room for competition here. It's just — you got to build the fighters. The fighters wanna go out and do the promotion and build themselves, you know? Getting in the cage and competing and fighting is one side of it, but doing the promotion side is a totally different animal and a lot of fighters got to learn how to do that the right way. They can't be irritated by the fans, by the promotion or by the news, or anything like that. They gotta be willing to go outside the box instead of just the fight world and I've understood that since day one. I think that's why my name is one of the biggest names in mixed-martial-arts, because I understood how to promote and do the promotion side of it. If [Floyd] Mayweather does come in and do that — I mean he has really deep pockets and he possibly can do that, but to compete with UFC and Bellator? It'll be tough. Right now Bellator seems to be having this snowball effect where it's just getting bigger and bigger and bigger. Scott Coker is doing an amazing job so far with the promotion and I'm very excited for the future of Bellator as a fight company."
There's much more to the interview, which you can read in its entirety at this link.
Source: MMA News