It wasn’t long ago “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” was seen by many as a “bad sport” when it came to his handling of defeat. Known for occasionally bringing up mysterious injuries in the past, such as his infamous “cracked skull” excuse after facing Forrest Griffin at UFC 106, it appears Tito Ortiz has truly turned a corner in his life beyond simply his new attitude towards UFC President Dana White.
When asked about his UFC 133 loss to Rashad Evans in the post-event press conference, Ortiz not only showed a great deal of respect to his fellow former light heavyweight champion but also avoided making a single excuse in relation to his performance.
“I’ve gotta take my hat off to Rashad. He fought a great fight, he took his time, and he didn’t run away. He stood there and he fought with me. And I fought back. I gave it my all,” Ortiz began before talk turned to his health and having stepped in on short notice to face Evans even though he’d fought Ryan Bader a month earlier.
“I can say for the first time in two fights I haven’t been injured, I hadn’t had any problems at all. I felt strong, I felt in shape. My training partners, we all pushed hard,” Ortiz explained. “Taking a fight that close…eh, I can sit there and go, ‘I shouldn’t have done it,’ but I was happy with doing it. Dana asked me if I would step up and I stepped up. I stepped up for the UFC.”
An icon of the Octagon, Ortiz also made it clear he has no intention of hanging up his gloves anytime soon.
“I’ve been here since 1997 and I’m still fighting – I’m still hungry and I still want to fight. I fought a #1 contender tonight on two weeks’ notice and I fought my ass off. And like I said, Rashad was the better man tonight.”
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC