Former UFC star Tito Ortiz has revealed that he competed for free when he first stepped foot inside the Octagon.
While he may be something of a controversial figure in the modern era, Tito Ortiz is known by many as ‘The Huntington Beach Bad Boy’ for a reason. The ex-UFC light heavyweight champion accomplished some great things during his time as an active mixed martial artist and nobody can ever take away from him what he was able to do in the cage.
His MMA debut actually took place at UFC back in May 1997 and as he revealed during a recent interview, he fought for free on that night.
“I fought in UFC 13… I fought for free as an amateur, no UFC fighter in history has ever fought for free,” Ortiz said. “I did it just to kinda test myself, see how good I truly could be. J.C, junior college wrestling state champion…was 199 [pounds] and thought I’d give it a try. I was training with Tank Abbott who fought in the UFC at the time and thought hey let’s give this a try… so I fought May 30th, 1997, stopped my first guy in seconds.
“I visualized myself in the finals, and the guy that made it to the finals incidentally ended up getting hurt, and I was the replacement. I was beating Guy Mezger and then they separated us, put us back on our feet, hit him with a big shot, and cut him… went for a takedown and got caught in a guillotine and didn’t know what that was at the time, white belt stuff. I had to tap, but I was hooked.
“I loved it… as a kid growing up on the streets, parents not being around me that much, I was always dying for attention. And the attention was there of fans [wanting my autograph]… but to come to realize that this was going to be the making of Tito Ortiz.”
Quotes via MMA News
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