Tito Ortiz Closes Door, Mostly, On Fighting Career As He Eyes Promoting

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Following his win over Chuck Liddell on Saturday night in L.A., Tito Ortiz is ready to move on from fighting — and into promoting, should the opportunity present itself.

Tito Ortiz got the result he was looking for on Saturday night against Chuck Liddell. With the two old rivals meeting for the third time, Ortiz put ‘The Ice Man’ on ice roughly four and a half minutes into the first round. Without ever falling back on his wrestling base, Ortiz backed Liddell into a corner, let his hands go, and earned the knockout finish.

Whatever is said Sunday about the condition Liddell was in at 48 years old, the record books will show that Ortiz got his revenge. He put away the man who beat him twice earlier in his career. He went out on a win.

“You guys don’t even know. All the pressure. Everything that I’ve worked for,” Ortiz told reporters including Cageside Press at the post-fight press conference after the bout. “Twenty-one years I’ve been in this game of mixed martial arts. I’ve been through the worst of the worst, I’ve been through the highest of the highs, like no others.”

Those ups would include becoming a world champion, five title defenses, but then the down of being “thrown to the wolves.” Thanking his fans for supporting him over the years, Ortiz said that now “I can be thankful for Oscar De La Hoya and Golden Boy Promotions for starting something new.”

On the fight itself, Ortiz revealed that “I wasn’t going to wrestle. This fight was never about wrestling. I faked him out the whole time telling him I was going to take him down.” It’s clear that Ortiz wanted to beat his longtime rival at his own game. “I believe in my hands, because I’m sparring with the best guys in the world right now.”

The big question after the fight, of course, was about the future. “Is this the last one?” Ortiz asked aloud on Saturday. “I want it to be.”

“There’s a lot of pressure. To impose your will on someone like that every single fight is really really hard. There’s so much pressure to do that. And I’ve been doing it twenty-one years,” he explained. Now, he wants to step out of the fighting game and into the promoting realm. There, he’ll be looking to help up-and-coming fighters, to “grow the next Tito Ortizs, grow the next Chuck Liddells, grow the next Rampage Jacksons, Royce Gracies, Ken Shamrocks, Conor McGregors, and give them an opportunity to make the real money in here.”

Later, Ortiz said no potential opponent has his interest at this point. “There’s no one out there to fight. Nobody. I’m done.”

“I’m willing to walk away,” he finished, and if the door was left open for a return, it was only a crack. After all, it’s clear Ortiz doesn’t want to wind up like his opponent Saturday. Tito admitted that if he was managing Chuck Liddell, he would have advised against the UFC Hall of Famer taking another fight. “I would have told Chuck no. Let’s get you an ambassador job.” He later put a rider on that, suggesting that “you can’t hold someone back, if they believe in something.” So with that in mind, “if he wants to compete, let him compete” — just not in the main event, Ortiz added.

That said, “I buried the hatchet with Chuck, 100%,” following the fight.

If it is his last hurrah, Ortiz goes out on a high note at least. With a record of 20–12–1, he has now won four of his last five bouts.

Watch the full post-fight press conference with Tito Ortiz above.

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