This week, former UFC title challenger Chael Sonnen revealed on his podcast that Tito Ortiz actually verbally tapped out in their Bellator 170 fight several weeks ago.
“The score is one-one between Tito and I and you always go into a rubber match. Everyone knows that. The only reason I kept my mouth shut at the Tito fight – look, Tito tapped in that fight. I knew Tito tapped when he tapped. I heard Tito verbally tap and I’ve never said a word about it, privately to Tito at the press conference or to you guys. I never said anything and the reason is, first off, when you lose, you just take your loss. It’s not a tap if the referee doesn’t call it a tap so therefore, Tito didn’t tap. I thought he tapped, and I let a move go. He verbally tapped, and I never said anything about it and the reason was, he quit the sport five seconds later. He quit the sport five seconds after I tapped and he quit the sport a minute and five seconds after he tapped. There was no rematch. There was nothing to build and no reason to tell the real story.
This of course prompted a response from both Ortiz, and referee ‘Big’ John McCarthy via social media:
.@ChaelSonnen You're my BITCH!
— Tito Ortiz (@titoortiz) February 24, 2017
— Big John McCarthy (@JohnMcCarthyMMA) February 24, 2017
Regardless of whether or not Ortiz verbally submitted, referee ‘Big’ John McCarthy never heard the alleged verbal submission, and Sonnen of course ultimately wound up being submitted with a rear naked choke in the very first round. The submission was a controversial one however, with many questioning how tight the choke actually was at the time Sonnen tapped out.
With that being said, both Tito Ortiz and ‘Big’ John McCarthy have stated that the choke was plenty tight.
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 2/25/2017.