By Lorenzo Luciano:
MMA legend and pioneer Tito Ortiz speaking in an interview with MMAJUNKIE in Stockholm announced that his upcoming fight against Forest Griffin would be the last fight of his MMA career.
“It’s my last fight after 15 years, I don’t know what it’s going to feel like to walk out for the last time, step in the octagon for the last time, to walk out of the octagon for the last time. Honestly, man, I don’t know what to expect.”
The 37 year old Tito Ortiz has a mixed martial art record of 16-10-1 in a career with the UFC that started in 1997.
“Even signing a bout agreement, I realized that’s the last one,” he said. “It’s weird.”
Tito is scheduled to meet Forest Griffin at UFC 148 which is set to take place July 7th in Las Vegas’ MGM Grand Garden Arena
“I think with everything I did, I made a mark,” he said. “I showed guys what a little hard work and inspiration can do.
At a time when the UFC was struggling, Tito was able to bring crowds to his fights through his self-promoting skills and in his battles with Chuck Liddell and others. He is a crowd pleaser whether in the role of villain or good guy.
“I’m thankful God gave me the gifts I’ve had. I could have done so many things – worse things – as a kid and a man in general. My parents being drug addicts, I look at it as, ‘Why am I sitting where I am today?’ I think it’s through hard work and dedication. It’s very inspiring toward people knowing you can achieve anything in this world as long as you stay focused and work super, super hard at it. I’m thankful for that.”
Tito is of Mexican American descent, born ‘Jacob Christopher Ortiz’; he received his nickname “Tito” meaning tyrant, by his Mexican father when he was one. Ortiz began wrestling in High School, and continued wrestling throughout college. His strong wrestling skill proved very beneficial in his MMA career.
“It’s still in my head,” he said. “I just turned 37. (Randy) Couture fought till he was 44 or 45. Do I want to do it, though? I just don’t have that hunger in me anymore. It’s a business to me now. It’s been a business since day one. It’s love for the fighting, but it’s always a business. But I’ve got three boys to take of now. … It’s time.”
Tito is married to former porn star Jenna Jameson, they have twin boys together. Tito also has another son from a previous marriage. Tito and Jenna have been together since 2006.
“ESPN just came to me and offered me a job as an analyst,” he said. “But I went to (UFC Chairman) Lorenzo (Fertitta) and told him, ‘I want to work for you guys.’ I want to work with the UFC. I started my career with the UFC. I never had an amateur career. I’ve been with the UFC since day one in 1997. I would love to end it with the UFC.”
When former rival Chuck Liddell retired the UFC offered the once feared striker an executive position for the organization as the Vice President of Business Development. Sounds like Tito would like the same kind of treatment from the UFC and hoping to finish his working days in the UFC offices.