Back from Iraq and Ready for Rashad Evans: Tito Ortiz Interview<
By Dave Carpinello
PDG: Tito thanks for your time. I know you must be busy.
Tito: Right on.
PDG: You just got back from the USO/Multi National Corps Tour in the Washington Metro area and Iraq. How was that experience?
Tito: We went to Bethesda and Walter Reed military hospitals where we visited with a lot of troops who were victims of the IED’s. Which are electronic explosive devices that the terrorists are using against our guys over there. A lot of troops have been dying and getting injured by these. Me, Justin and Kenny went to the hospitals and it was a real heart-shaker. It was nice to see the injured troops smile when we went into their rooms. It made me feel good that we were able to cheer them up.
PDG: A lot of people give you a hard time about your “Bad-Boy” image and persona. Going on that trip had to have been a once in a lifetime experience and showed people a different side of Tito.
Tito: It definitely was; from the day we left until we got back here in Los Angeles. After we left the US, we went to Kuwait and it wasn’t too bad there. Then we took a C-130 troop transport plane to Bagdad. That was a little sketchy as the aircraft had to do a combat landing. It was crazy… the plane had to make several maneuvers and the g-force was rough. Once we were on the ground we went Saddam’s hunting palace. We were able to take some videos and pictures of everything. So next week my fans will be able to see them on www.TitoOrtiz.com.
PDG: So how long was your actual stay in Bagdad?
Tito: I was there six days all together. I got back this past Sunday.
PDG: I would like to thank you for thinking of our troops overseas and say that it takes a lot of heart to go on those tours.
Tito: Thanks. Its just one of those things that when I go to bed at night and look in the mirror. I can say that I helped someone and brought a smile to their face. There are guys over in Iraq that have been there for up to 14 months. It has been really tough on them. So any support that I can give; I’ll give as much as I can. When I was in Bagdad some of the troops gave me an American flag. They asked if I would carry the flag as I walk to the Octagon for my next fight. So my next fight is going to be dedicated to the troops.
PDG: Speaking of your next fight, is it going to be at UFC 77?
Tito: Not a 100% sure yet as nothing has been signed. It will be either October or November against Rasdad Evans.
PDG: What are your thoughts on the rematch?
Tito: I need to stop him…either by knockout or submission. I don’t want to leave the decision in the judge’s hands again. I think I won the last fight even with the point being taken away. We both got a take-down in the 3rd round so I guess that one was even. I dominated him in the 2nd round. There wasn’t much action in the 1st round. Like I said “I think I won that fight”. So this time I just need to knock him out or submit him. Rashad felt my power and I felt his…It will be an exciting fight and I am looking forward to it. Rashad is competitive and he comes to fight. I respect him.
PDG: Since it is your last fight under your current contract with the UFC; Were you hoping for a bigger fight or do you just want to give the fans a different result than a draw with Evans?
Tito: I definitely want to clean up my unfinished business with Rashad. Hopefully by the time this fight is over. I will have already signed a new contract with the UFC. You never know though, so we’ll see what the future holds for Tito Ortiz.
PDG: Have you already been in talks with the UFC on a new contract or are you waiting until after the fight with Evans?
Tito: I want to get it done before. I am talking with Lorenzo Fertitta next week and we’ll see what we can get done. Just try and figure out my future with the UFC or somewhere else.
PDG: While you were on the USO Tour, I interviewed Kevin Randleman. Apparently there is some tension between the two of you that hasn’t been out in the public before.
Tito: The last time I talked to Kevin he was saying how good of a fighter I was and how much he respects me for all that I am doing for other fighters.
PDG: Kevin’s exact quote was “I would kick Tito’s ass”.
Tito: Why would he want to fight me? He doesn’t want to get knocked out. Kevin is a good guy and is just looking for a fight. Everybody wants to fight me so they can be a superstar. Kevin is just upset that he didn’t stick with the UFC and went over to PRIDE. Where he lost a couple of matches and got his ass handed to him. I respect Kevin and he is just trying to get into the game again.
PDG: Steroids… more fighters using or just more of them getting caught?
Tito: I think that more people are using. I am not saying that Sean Sherk used though. He said he didn’t and I believe him 100%. Sherk could have used something over-the-counter that CSAC didn’t approve of; he said he didn’t do it and I believe him. The other guys though… If you are going to use something like that then cool. WHY NOT BE A MAN AND FIGHT LIKE A MAN. If you’re going to be a kid and try to be a man by taking that stuff then you’ll pay. Try it without that stuff and see what it really takes to be a fighter. I have never taken anything and I have been tested at every fight.
PDG: Later this month the Heavyweight Championship is on the line with Randy Couture vs. Gabriel Gonzaga and then next month it will be the Light Heavyweight Championship with Quinton “Rampage” Jackson vs. Dan Henderson. Which two fighters will be victorious?
Tito: Gonzaga and Rampage. It will also be good that the UFC is showing the Hendo vs. Rampage fight for free on Spike TV. Plus it should be a very good fight. Rampage is going to be able to show how good of a fighter he is.
PDG: So if the right circumstances presented themselves, would you fight “Rampage” in the UFC?
Tito: You know if it was for huge money I wouldn’t want to take any food out of his family’s mouth. If that time comes Rampage and I have talked about it and we probably would take the fight. I guess I’ll to have to walk down that street when the day comes.
PDG: What was your most memorable fight in your career?
Tito: Frank Shamrock, that was a learning experience for me. I had only been in the game for a year and a half and its just one of those things. It made me a better fighter. The biggest fight for me was the second fight with Chuck Liddell. It was awesome, we broke some records and I will remember that forever.
PDG: Team Punishment. Who are the fighters coming out of your camp that the fans should be looking for?
Tito: There is a light heavyweight named Aaron Rojas that has been training with me for a year now. He is a tough kid that works hard and it is nice to see that at 23 yrs old. Of course there is Kendall Grove, another young kid that is doing very well. Justin McCully, who has a fight coming up. It’s nice that some of my fighters are progressing so well.
PDG: Punishment Athletics; Planning for when your fight career is over?
Tito: PA is my clothing company. We are getting a lot of exposure and distributors as well. We are working on button-down shirts and semi dress shirts that you can wear to dinner or a club. Hopefully by year end we will have those products available. Actually my next project is jeans as I would really like to develop something along those lines. After my fight career is over has a lot to do with it as I want to be an entrepreneur.
PDG: Jenna Jameson; Can’t let you leave until I ask how that is working for you?
Tito: I found a wonderful woman, a great girl and I am excited to have her as a part of my life. She is a very good business women and it makes proud to call her my girlfriend. She is very intelligent and treats me very well.
PDG: On a closing note are there any upcoming events your fans should know about?
Tito: We have a blood drive coming up on September 2nd in Glendale, Arizona and people can sign up on my website.
PDG: Tito, Thanks again for your time.
Tito: Not a problem.
Post your comments directly below! You can also discuss the latest MMA & Video Game News in the PunchDrunkGamer Forums and don’t forget to Follow PDG on Twitter @PunchDrunkGamer and Like the PDG Official Facebook Page!