If you didn’t know – and I wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t – Chael Sonnen and Tito Ortiz apparently have some history. From the sound of it, it may even be one of those histories that meant absolutely nothing to Sonnen, but means a whole lot more to Tito. Or, of course, it could just be an excuse, a way to pick a fight and build a narrative out of a contest that hadn’t necessarily been on many fans’ radars.
In a recent interview with Submission Radio, Ortiz revealed his long-lingering beef with Chael Sonnen and why he’d like to get a win back for a contest that happened 21 years ago.
“I was a little surprised that the UFC let him go,” Ortiz said, “but did they let him go the same way they let (Stephen) Bonnar go, to give an opportunity to fight me? If so, I guess it’s a bad luck charm for UFC, a bad luck charm for Chael Sonnen, cause he called me out. And yes, I’m one of the bigger names in Bellator and he’d wanna complete against me, but it seems like just a blessing in disguise. I’ve been wanting to get my payback to Chael Sonnen for a while now, and this is not in fighting-wise, but in collegiate wrestling.
“We wrestled against each other in college and he pinned me in 30 seconds on my birthday. I got caught in a headlock, got put on my back and he almost choked me out unconscious and he pinned me and he won the match, and I’ve never forgot about that match. So I’ve always thought, will there be a way for me to fight Chael Sonnen? And all of a sudden we look back almost 21 years later that this fights going to happen. I’m really, really excited.”
Compounding Ortiz’s excitement is his own feeling that this would be an opportunity to fight a “clean” Sonnen. Sonnen recently stated that if he failed a drug test under Bellator he’d be fine’d $500,000.
“Everybody always has that thought that a person who fails once, they’re going to fail again,” Ortiz said about the chances of Sonnen using PEDs in Bellator. “And I think he’s done that himself. I just want to make sure that Bellator does a good job of everybody fighting on an even playing field. That’s what’s number one. My whole career, every single one of my fights of 19 years, I think the only type supplement I’ve ever took, was creatine - of course the protein and things like that just for my muscles - but any type of steroid or things like that, I’ve always strayed away from, just because I’ve watched guys like Mark Coleman get knocked out from exhaustion. I’ve been a guy who kind of kept my cardio great, and I don’t ever wanna lose it. I wanna have a long career in mixed martial arts and I have, of 19 years. My body, yes has been broken down. But I’ve been able to rebuild it through surgeries and technology and just hard work, determination and the fact of just working hard through these things.
“But if he’s made one mistake, shame on him. If he’s made two mistakes, double shame on him. If he made three mistakes, it’s going to cost him $500,000 dollars, and that shouldn’t be good. So let’s see Chael as someone who’s not all juiced up, someone who’s not hard from the testosterone therapy he was using, or even the steroids, every type of steroids he was using. But I’m gonna cancel those out and not even think about those, because I get to fight the real Chael Sonnen. I’m not gonna fight a juiced up Chael Sonnen, I’m gonna fight a Chael Sonnen that’s off the stuff. So I’m excited because we’re fighting on an even playing field and, you know, how much weaker he’s gonna be, how soft he’s gonna be, it just he depends on it. I’m a monster when I get in the cage. I don’t use testosterone, I don’t use any of that type of stuff to make me stronger. I’ve been strong since I’ve been a freshman in high school, when I started wrestling and it hasn’t changed over the last 25 years. My strength just gets stronger and stronger and stronger. It’s because I push myself in training. I don’t need no extra supplements to do that, because it just shows a sign of weakness and shows how weak Chael really is. Yes, he talks well, but when he gets in the cage and fights and he doesn’t have those supplements, is he going to be a weak person? I believe he will be.”
However, as interested as Ortiz is in the fight, he also revealed that he won’t be fighting Sonnen in November, as Sonnen initially suggested. Ortiz claims that he’s “the one calling the shots” and that he and Sonnen will be fighting in January, close to his birthday, just to drive home his shot at revenge.
About the author