UFC light heavyweight champion Chuck Liddell said he isn't buying Tito Ortiz's argument that the reason he withdrew from his boxing match with company president Dana White last month is that he wasn't satisfied with the contract terms.
Liddell, who has two victories over Ortiz, said he believes Ortiz realized nothing good could come out of fighting a promoter.
When Ortiz signed a contract extension with the UFC in 2006, he had it included in his contract that he would get a three-round boxing match with White, his former manager with whom he frequently has been at odds.
The story was first reported in the Las Vegas Review-Journal but was not taken seriously. But once it became apparent that White, a former amateur boxer who had aspirations of turning pro, was serious about preparing, the UFC brought in Spike TV to do a documentary on their preparations for the bout and then to show the fight itself.
But when White made weight, Ortiz didn't show and the bout was canceled. Ortiz has said repeatedly it was because there was no bout agreement and he didn't know where the money was going.
Liddell, who defends his title on May 26 in Las Vegas against Rampage Jackson, the last man to have beaten him, doesn't buy that.
"He opened his mouth and said he wanted this fight but I don't think he really thought about it and the consequences," Liddell said. "It's a lose-lose for him. If you beat up Dana, so what? You beat up a promoter. Big deal. Heaven forbid if Dana beat him up. That would have killed him.
"Tito was saying, 'Dana's almost a pro boxer' and he said he didn't want to get hurt. The whole thing was stupid, and Tito opened his mouth before he thought about it. They're different sports and boxing's not Tito's thing. Dana's not bad. He's not ‘almost a pro,' but he's not bad and I think Tito realized nothing good was in it for him."
Liddell said he'd give Ortiz a rematch if Ortiz earned one, but said he's not particularly interested in another fight.
"What is there for me to prove?" Liddell said. "And why would people want to see that again?"
Liddell stopped Ortiz in the third round of a ballyhooed rematch on Dec. 30, a fight that reportedly did nearly one million pay-per-view sales. It was little different from his second-round stoppage of Ortiz in their April 2, 2004, match.
Ortiz fights unbeaten Rashad Evans on July 7 in Sacramento, Calif.
"He's going to have to win three or four in a row before it really would seem he's in position for a title shot," Liddell said. "If he earned it, yeah, but I don't see a need to do it now. I beat him up every time we sparred, I beat him every time we've fought and I'd beat him up if we did it again.
"It's the same thing every time. I'd ask you, do you want to see it?"
A memorial service for former IFL middleweight Jeremy Williams, who was found dead at 27 on May 5, will be held on Monday, May 14, at 12 p.m. PT at the Cost Hills Community Church in Aliso Viejo, Calif. In lieu of flowers, a trust fund is being created to benefit his daughters.
Prior to a May 5 UFC fight in Las Vegas, Melvin Guillard accused his opponent, Joe Stevenson, of using Human Growth Hormone.
Stevenson, who denied the charges, went out and won via first-round submission. He passed his post-fight drug test, but Guillard did not.
Guillard tested positive for the active ingredient in cocaine. On Wednesday, he admitted before a hearing in front of the Nevada Athletic Commission in Las Vegas that he'd taken cocaine at a birthday party four days earlier. He was suspended eight months and fined $2,100.
"He was pretty contrite and admitted what he done and realized he'd made a mistake," said Keith Kizer, the commission's executive director. "The commission took that into account when making its ruling."
GRACIE EYES REVENGE
Royce Gracie, one of the godfathers of what is now known as mixed martial arts, will make what appears to be his yearly appearance in a fight when he takes on long-time nemesis Kazushi Sakuraba on June 2 in a joint promotion between FEG and Elite XC at the Los Angeles Coliseum.
Sakuraba has become known as the "Gracie killer" for wins over Gracie family members Royler, Royce, Renzo and Rayn.
Sakuraba and Royce Gracie fought under special rules on a Pride Fighting Championship card on May 1, 2000 in Japan. The bout was fought with 15-minute rounds, no limit on the number of rounds and the stipulation that the bout could end only via submission or knockout.
They battled for six 15-minute rounds until Gracie's corner had to throw in the towel between the sixth and seventh round when he told them he was unable to walk due to kicks in the leg.
The bout came in the semifinals of an eight-man tournament. Each man had already won one fight and the winner would have to fight again.
Gracie said that didn't concern him, though.
"It got to the point that I think he thought the same thing: ‘Forget the next fight. We have got to finish this one,'" Gracie said on a conference call. "We were both so exhausted. But he kicked me on the shin. There was a partial tear on the tendon, a crack on the shin. (After) six rounds, I sat down and told my brother and my father, ‘I can get up, but I cannot walk. There is no way I can walk. What should I do?'
"They told me, ‘You cannot confuse being tough with being stupid. You have already proven to us you are tough by fighting six rounds for 15 minutes. To continue on would be (stupid). If you cannot walk, you cannot walk. Let us throw the towel.'"
But Gracie said he doesn't consider the June 2 bout a grudge match.
"I don't feel I have to avenge my loss to Sakuraba," Gracie said. "Every fight is different. Every approach is different. Every approach has its own strategy."
Gracie hasn't fought since he was manhandled by Matt Hughes in a non-title UFC fight on May 27, 2006. He hasn't fought more than once in the same calendar year since 2000.
- Chuck Liddell
- Tito Ortiz
- Dana White
- Royce Gracie