UFC Hall of Famer Tito Ortiz was a polarizing figure during his run in the Octagon, winning over some with his passion and past dominance while turning others off with his attitude and occasional antics. However, while many fans may not see eye to eye on Ortiz, none will disagree that the former light heavyweight champion’s retirement was tainted by Forrest Griffin’s decision to intervene in a post-fight interview with Joe Rogan.
Ortiz handled it with surprising class at the time and has never come out to criticize Griffin for ruining his final moment in the cage after a fifteen-year career. As it turns out, the reason for Ortiz’s relative silence on the subject has to do with Griffin coming up to him and immediately apologizing for the behavioral blunder.
“What Forrest did was really disrespectful. What I thought was going to happen was that my hand was going to get raised, and when it didn’t, he just added to that feeling of being bummed out from the loss. It’s like he went to smear it in, and it was a damper on the whole night, because I think my fans deserved more than that,” admitted Ortiz in an interview with Bloody Elbow. “After the fight was over, he came up to me and apologized and admitted that he had handled things wrong. I’ve absolutely forgiven him for it, because life is too short to hold on to things like that. People make mistakes. I’ve always been a fan of Forrest and always liked him, and even that bit of ugliness he showed won’t change that.”
With MMA behind him, Ortiz is busy representing the next generation of stars including an increasingly infamous role as Cristiane Santos’ manager. While he’d love to keep competing if physically able, Ortiz made it clear he’s content with life after fighting and would only contemplate a comeback if fellow retiree Frank Shamrock was somehow involved.
“As far as missing being under the spotlight, I miss it a little bit, but as far as the fighting, not an ounce of it,” laughed Ortiz. “You know, I’ve had some major surgeries, and I put my body through Hell. I did what I set out to do, and I went out on my own terms. Management is my next step, and I’m excited to see what the future holds for me there.”
The longtime “Huntington Beach Bad Boy” left the sport with an overall mark of 16-11, playing a major role in some of the biggest PPV bouts in the company’s history including those stemming from rivalries with Ken Shamrock and Chuck Liddell.
PHOTO CREDIT – UFC