One of the most crucial figures in UFC history is unquestionably Tito Ortiz. The light heavyweight icon was not only an extremely popular champion in his prime but also blended showmanship with skill before most fighters understood the importance of marketability. However, Ortiz has also occasionally drawn heat from fans, making him a good candidate to weigh in on the furor surrounding Jon Jones’ behavior over the pat few weeks.
Ortiz was one of the few fighters to come out in support of Jones’ decision to turn down a short notice fight with Chael Sonnen and defend the 25-year old’s right to handle his career as he wanted. To repay his kind words, rather than praise Ortiz, “Bones” instead blasted the notion of being in the same ballpark as Ortiz when he was accused of being selfish/money-hungry.
“That was like a stab in my back. I was like, I stood up for you. When no one else did, I stood up for you and you turn around and say something like that,” said Ortiz of Jones’ attitude in an interview with MMAWeekly. “I’m a person who put their life on the line and my career and my image and my name on the line to battle for you to have the type of contract you have and the money you’re making. I took a lot of flak for negotiating and battling for what I believed in. It wasn’t a factor of talking about money. It was a factor of what I thought I was worth. I was trying to raise the bar for all fighters, and I think I’ve done that. For him to say the things he’s saying, don’t disrespect me like that.”
While Ortiz may be angry with Jones, the brewing feud is extremely unlikely to materialize into anything more than a verbal dispute. The former “Huntington Beach Bad Boy” has been retired since July when he was also inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC