UFC president Dana White conducted a private screening recently of the new eight-episode series "The Fighters" that airs tonight on Discovery Channel. The reality television series focuses on amateur boxers from rival South Boston gyms.
White too was an amateur boxer from Boston in his youth, and at one point in 2007 was supposed to fight UFC Hall of Famer Tito Ortiz for charity. Ortiz ultimately no showed the weigh in, the White recalled the run up to it.
"I still box every day," said White as transcribed by MMAFighting. "I boxed this morning. I box every day."
"You know what pisses me off the most about that thing? Is I brought in real guys. I brought in heavyweight guys to spar with me for that thing. And I got the living s--- punched out of me for four months getting ready for that fight. Real guys. One of the guys, the main guy I sparred with, is fighting this weekend, and he's ranked heavyweight.
"How many of you guys ever saw that old movie for the '80s Twelve O'Clock High where the guys's going to get his ass kicked after school and he keeps looking at the clock trying to get out of this fight? I'm not s----ing you. I'm 37 years old when this thing's going down. I'm sitting in my office every day going 'Oh my god. It's f---ing two o'clock. This guy's are going to be here in an hour.'"
"These guys are 22, 24 years old. I'm 37 doing all the UFC s---, then going down and sparring with these guys. My nose got busted up. I got the s--- kicked out of me getting ready for that thing."
"I had to go through all the stuff with the commission, which I still to this day believe, it created a lot of bad animosity between me and the commission trying to get licensed for that fight. Right. But they did it. They licensed me. I went through all the medical testing, everything, and then Tito ends up bailing on that thing the day of the weigh-ins."
"And believe me. I'm not trying to sound like a tough guy and I don't talk about the thing a lot, but I was ready, in great shape and Tito bailed on that thing because Tito knew he was going to get his ass whooped on national television."
So does White regret it?
"Yes!" White said. "If I could go back in time, I wouldn't do it. If I knew Tito was going to bail out of the thing, I would've never done it. I had to go have nose surgery after all that stuff, getting ready for that fight. I was sparring with real guys. I brought in real pro heavyweights, young guys that were literally beating the s--- out of me every day. It was not fun.
"But I said I'd do it and I always keep my word and I showed up for the weigh-ins and I was ready to go."
A reporter then asked White if he thinks Bellator made a huge mistake signing Ortiz. Although White and Tito have had their differences, White came to the fighter's defense.
"Well, the difference with Tito Rampage is Tito really did get legitimately hurt before the fight with Rampage," saod White. "The reality with me is Tito knew. Tito knew. Tito had Jenna Jameson call negotiating like two weeks before the fight that he wanted to switch it to no head gear. Because this was supposed to be an amateur fight. So he wanted to switch to no head gear. I said, 'Fine. We'll go no head gear.' They wanted to switch to 8 ounce gloves. I said, 'Ok, we can do 8 ounce gloves.'"
"The reality is I used to beat the living s--- out of Tito Ortiz, back when we first bought this company and we used to box."
"Now, if Tito would've made this an MMA fight, I would've never said yes because Tito would murder me. He would double leg me, elbow my face off, and rip my head right off my shoulders, in an MMA fight.
"That's not what he asked for. He asked for a boxing match with me and I would've beat the living s--- out of Tito. And he knows it and that's why he didn't do it."
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