UFC Middleweight Champion
Tito Ortiz Interview part 1
Interview by Pooch
This interview took place over the phone on 10/02/01 at 0:30 am
Tito Ortiz : Good, real good. Im training my butt off up here. Im doing elevation training, its like 7200 feet above sea level, its real hard.
Tito Ortiz : actually the people who made the video game are situated close to were I live in Orange County, actually LA County in California. I pretty much went in there and they took a bunch of photos of me. The thing they did real well was that all the video stuff they got from a video itself. They watched fights and every thing and recorded it, it wasnt like how they put the little balls on you and make you move around it was more like watching a video and copying it and putting it in the video game.
Pooch: The game does look like they used motion capture.
Tito Ortiz : I thought it would be to, but when I got there they had everything done, they just needed to get some pictures of my face and of my body and everything so they could make my character look exactly like me. I showed them a couple of moves too, my favourite ones like the guillotine and some different punch combos and they put them in there.
Pooch: And after reading your interview in FCF I see that you've been touring with Limp Bizkit. How's that been and how did you get hooked up with that particular gig?
Ortiz : Actually the guys from Korn are good friends of
mine, I know the bass player real well and the guitarist and singer.
My roommate was Limp Bizkit`s head of security so it was kind of like
"Hey do you want to come out to one of the shows" So I came out and
met Fred, he liked me a lot he thought I was a cool guy. After one of
my fights I went out with them for about a week and a half and it was
cool, it was really fun. They look up to me as a mixed martial art fighter
and I look up to them as musicians.
Tito Ortiz : The blacked flamed shorts and my clothing range which is called punishment clothing, which you can get at www.Tito-Ortiz.com Its pretty much all work out gear, theres shorts, sweat pants, T-shirts, jackets, hats and beanies. We have some new beanies on there actually which replicate the shorts with flames on them, theres some pretty cool stuff.
Tito Ortiz : Yhea it was terrible. It was in Bermuda me and my wife went on honeymoon there and they drive on the opposite side of the road as we do here in the States, I believe it the same side you guys drive on.
Pooch: Yhea we drive on the left side.
Tito Ortiz : Yhea I wasnt really used to that at all so I was driving my moped around, I was on the front seat and my wife was on the back. We came to a stop sign, instead of looking right to left I looked left to right. When I looked left I pulled out and before I could look right a bus going about 30 mph hit us and we were on a moped. It through me about 30ft and I hit the ground and skidded I rolled came to my feet I turned around and wondered were my wife was, the bus came to a stop and she was caught under the bus. It was a really traumatic experience. I pulled her from underneath and I asked if she was OK and she said that she wasnt OK. I was really scared I mean being the toughest man in the world but at any time at all anybody can take your life, Its meaning less and so easy to take away. I was just thankful that somebody was looking over me at that time and not take her or my life away, I almost lost her. It was pretty scary being the toughest man in the world and at the same time being scared like a little kid.
Pooch: Is your wife OK now.
Tito Ortiz : Yhea shes almost at about 80% recovered. She had four fractured vertebras and three broken ribs but theyve heeled up and the doctor says shes gonna do fine. The enlinement in her back is not really that straight but they say shes going to be OK.
Tito Ortiz : Sure no problem at all.
Pooch: Could you tell us a little about your history and involvement in the sport and your fighting background prior to getting into the mixed martial arts.
Tito Ortiz : In high school I started wrestling, my sophomore year in high school which is 5th grade I started wrestling and It was really something to keep me off the streets, playing with friends, going around in gangs and stuff and staying out of trouble. So I stuck to wrestling all the way through until I graduated as a senior. I did real well, my coach told me I was a natural at the sport of wrestling, so I did that and then I took about a year off and I went to Goldenwest junior college in California.
I won the state championship two years in a row and then I started training with Tank Abbott. Tank said he needed a bigger kid to wrestle with, luckily one of my high school wrestling coaches was friends with him so he said cmon lets go train with Tank. It was a good opportunity for me to get a workout with someone who was bigger, So I did. The first time I noticed (mma) was Jerry Bohlander when he won the first UFC lightweight tournament, I saw that and I was like wow, I wrestled him in high school and I pretty much stomped him pretty easily, so I though he does it well so imagine what I could do. So at that time I just wanted to try and see how I would do.
The first time I fought was at UFC XIII, which I fought, Wes Albrriton and it lasted I think 23 seconds or something like that, I won it really quick. I liked the feeling, it was always on TV and all my friends get to watch me beat up somebody and I wasnt getting in trouble doing it. I believe one of the guys got injured for the finals so I got thrown in as an alternate against Guy Mezger. I didnt know who Guy Mezger was, I didnt know he was the king of Pancrase or anything like that. I trained for about four months with submissions before that, I never knew what submissions were, so when he caught me in the guillotine I didnt know how to get out. I was inexperienced myself, I wish I had more time to train but you know I just fell into it just to give it a try and see how it was.
Pooch: So you pretty much took the plunge straight into the deep end?
Tito Ortiz : Yep right (laughs) It seemed like a learned a lot and a lot of people said man you should come back and fight again, you should come back and fight again and I told them well I got to wait, I have to go to college because I was at an amateur status at that time fighting for the UFC, I did not get paid much for it. So I went to college my next year at Cal state Bakersville (SP) in California. I finished the year there then I was at a midpoint in my life, I was thinking should I stay in school or should I give this UFC stuff a try because It was getting bigger and bigger as the events went on, so I thought I would give it a try one more time.
My girlfriend and I at that time, now my wife, sat back and said well were sick of Bakersville because its far away from home, its real deserty, So we said lets go back home to the beach. So we went back, we got an apartment and I started training for the UFC. Bob Marowiz from the UFC gave me a call and asked if I wanted to fight Jerry Bohlander in my first fight back, So I thought Id fight. Jerry Bohlander was one of the guys that made me think that I would be good at this, so now Im back in fighting him. So I saw this pretty much as a stepping stone, I trained really hard for it. I won with a referee stoppage at 14:59 I believe it was, all of a sudden I was at the top of the middleweights. Jerry Bohlander beat a lot of good guys and I made him look pretty bad. For somebody as young as I am in this sport who learns so quick, I feel sorry for a lot of guys who are coming up and theyll have to fight me and Im just learning and learning every day.
Tito Ortiz : When I took that second fight I took it on a two-week notice. I believe that Guy Mezger was meant to fight Vitor Belfor. Belfort got hurt so he got pulled out, so the first person they called was me, they were thinking that this was a re-match and well make it look real good. They called me and at first I was like no Im out of shape and I cant do it right now, but they were like, " no man you can beat him, you can beat him, Im telling you, you can beat him."
So I was thinking if my manager is telling me this, and at that time I was like mmm I wasnt really sure, you know I was still young and I wasnt really learning that much and I was like well if they offer me the right money, so I thought I would take a chance at it. I trained for about two and a half weeks. I came in and made weight and I took it to him right off the bat. I came at him and did what I do best which is ground and pound, I pushed and it broke him, It took his spirit. Before that fight happened he talked a lot of stuff. He said about the first fight that I was a young kid in a mans game and that his mom hits harder then me, hes thrown away more then Ill ever learn and just disrespectful stuff like that, I mean I take that personally. So I thought about it, I thought Im making a T-shirt for this guy, hes kind of a pretty boy, his names Guy Mezger, hes kind of like a gay guy, so hey "Gay Mezger is my bitch" because I was going to make him my bitch that night. So when I beat him I strolled out and put the shirt on, I shot him down, it was like saying hey you know what you talk shit but now look whos on top.
Ken Shamrock got really mad, I mean none of it was towards the lions Den or Ken Shamrock, everything was towards Guy Mezger. Its kind of bad when you put your foot in your mouth and cant pull it out.
Pooch: What goes around comes around.
Tito Ortiz : Exactly, He talked a lot of stuff and he couldnt back it up, so when it was over and done I felt I had the right place to air my anger, what I did was necessary.
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