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Global Training Report



Interview with

Tito Ortiz

 from Kami no Puroresu, (紙のプロレス)

Radical 34, Feb. 2001

Translated by Yoko Kondo


Q: Congratulations on your success in the defense of UFC middle-weight Champion belt! Did you have a party for your celebration last night?

Tito: Yes. Finally I was released from the hard training. I had nothing but training everyday for last six months. But the rest is only one day. I will start a hard training from tomorrow again.

Q: Despite that you just finished the fight yesterday, are you going to start the training so soon?

Tito: That's right, because everybody is aiming at this belt. I have to train seriously. There is no rest for the champion. That is a kind of fate of the king.

Q: Well then, could you look back on your fight with Kondo held last night? It was an aggressive fight.  In the previous fight with Vanderlei Silva (UFC middle-weight Championship at Yoyogi Stadium on April 14), the fight was rather at a deadlock. So  did you intentionally try to do an aggressive fight, which is your original style,  this time?

Tito: Yes, I did. I didn't want to show my victory by decision of judges to the fans at the fight with Silva. So I was happy that I could become the champion at that time, but it was regrettable that I couldn't satisfy the fans. But trust me! There will be no more win by decision of judges. All I do is to win by a knock-out, or choking, or breaking his arm or leg. Making the fans happy or excited is my job.

Q: Wo! You really have a professional spirit!  Then you did exactly the same as you planned for your game yesterday, didn't you?

Tito: It was my theme how quickly I could finish with him in my best movement. I took one good knee-kick, but it helped me enhance my fighting spirit. (laughing) Well, it seems everything went well as I planned.

Q: Before the fight, you appreciated Kondo as a strongest challenger. Did you change your impression about him after you in reality fought with him?

Tito: No, not at all. Still now I consider him a strongest challenger.

Q: Do you still think so even after such a perfect victory?

Tito: Yes, because he was very speedy and tough. But the thing is I was more speedy and tough. 

Q: How was Kondo compared to Frank Shamrock or Guy Metzger whom you fought with before?

Tito: I think Kondo has a high possibility of chance to defeat them. Both Frank and Metzger have good punches,  but Kondo's is more powerful.

Q: You did a perfect victory against Kondo, but you were defeated by Frank.

Tito: To be sure, I was defeated by Frank one year ago. But I have become stronger now than I could expect compared to those days. If I fight with Frank now, I am sure that I will defeat him in the same way as I did to Kondo.

Q: Well, then what do you think is missing for Kondo to defeat you?

Tito: Rather than something is missing, his loss lies in the fact that the champion was Tito Ortiz. He was born at the same time as Tito Ortiz. That is what his unhappiness lies in.

Q: By the way, it is said that there was a trouble in weight one day before the fight, and your real weight was four or five kilogram heavier than that of the contract.

Tito: No, nothing happened like that. But there was a little argument on the scale prepared for measurement, because it was like a cheap health meter used in a bath room. We usually don't use such a scale for measurement, don't we?

Q: Surely, you are right.

Tito: The weight in the contract is under 199 pounds. My ordinary weight is about 205 pounds, so I don't need to lose weight so much. This time, also, I lost weight to the level of the contract and passed it. But due to that scale, the Pancrase side complained about my weight. Meantime, I drank water and had a meal without any concern, because I passed it once already. Consequently, my weight was back to the ordinary weight. There is no problem at all. It is wrong to complain about something which was once accepted. They don't know about measurement in the title match.

Q: There is a report saying that the health meter was brought by yourself.

Tito: What? So ridiculous! It was brought by UFC-J.

Q: Is that so? According to the fan of WWF, it seems like that you imitated Crush Holy[?] (a wrestler of WWF, who comes up the ring with a scale in his hand) as a parody. (laughing)

Tito: (Laughing) Crush Holy... It's interesting, but they think too much. (laughing) I hope there is nobody among the fans who mixes up wrestling of WWF with our fights. Our fights are all real. Don't mix it up.

Q: Apart from the fight, it seems to me that there is some similarity in performance and talk in the ring between you and WWF.

Tito: I notice it. I like pro wrestling very much since my child days, and I got into this world partly for that reason.

Q: What? Were you a fan of pro wrestling?

Tito: Yes, I was. I learned all from pro wrestling how to excite the spectator in the ring. I was influenced a lot in many parts by it. But one difference between WWF and me is my fight is real.

Q: Well then who among the pro wrestlers had an influence on you most?

Tito: It is Stonecold Steve Austin, of course.

Q: That's what I thought. There are many fans who are looking at you overlapping Stonecold's image, "strong, bad, and cool".

Tito: (Laughing) I am always aware of such an image. But being "Stonecold" in the Octagon requires a lot of hard training. That character can not be realized without being stronger than anybody else.

Q: The training is not only just to win, but also to realize the image of "strong, bad, and cool", isn't it?

Tito: That's right. In that sense, I'm different from other fighters.

Q: Speaking of Austin, you used to wear the T-shirt like "Austin 3:16", didn't you?

Tito: I think you are talking about "Extreme Associates 3:16". My friend makes a message T-shirt every time, like "I just kick your ass!!".

Q: (Laughing) One time you appeared on the ring in T-shirt saying "Gay Metzer" against "Guy Metzer", didn't you? (laughing)

Tito: Yes, I did it because he was so arrogant. But I was childish. (laughing)

Q: It is also a pleasure to see the T-shirt you put on every time like that, but is it your service for the fans too?

Tito: That's right. Every time I print a message which fits my opponent, usually a harsh message. (laughing)

Q: Then, What is the meaning of the message in the T-shirt you put on in the fight with Kondo?

Tito: It says, "No one gives you a respect". It means something like, "If you fight in the way you aim at a draw or decision by judge, no one will give you a respect". I wanted to do a fight of "dead or alive". But I respect him now, because he fought hard enough in response to my message.

Q: By the way, I heard that "bad boy" is not a gimmick in the ring, but you were really a bad boy when you were a child.

Tito: Yes, it's true. My parents were divorced when I was small, and I had nobody around who could guide me. So I always did fights and blew off my opponents. I did a lot of mistakes, and learned a lot from them. I grew up pretty much. 

Q: Japanese fans like to listen to a superstar's tale of bravery in an old day. Do you have such an experience?

Tito: Well, it's not in my child days, but I have one interesting story. When I was drinking with my friend at my favorite night club, Dennis Rodman came in arrogantly surrounded by the security guards. He was an owner of the club. Then I had an argument with a basketball player named Danny Sheiz [?], a friend of Rodman. He complained to me about something trivial like, I spilled a drink over his arm. I promptly kicked his leg, and overturned him. He was very big, but fell down in a perfect way.

Q: Ippon! [Translator's note: It is used when you score a point over Judo fights]

Tito: Then, the security guards rushed to us and surrounded me. I shouted to them out of anger. But someone noticed that I was Tito Ortiz, so it was settled down somehow. But when I went to the bath room after that, one of his security guards came to pick a fight with me. Maybe he still bore a grudge against the incident happened a little before. He tried to provoke my anger, but I ignored him saying "no, no".

Q: Just like Rick Flear [?]

Tito: Yes. (laughing) But he was so persistent that I lost my temper and finally accepted the fight. He was big. When he took off a shirt, a muscular body like Ken Shamrock came into my sight.. (laughing) . I was scared a little bit, but knocked him down with three blows, choked him, and smashed him up against the wall. It was finished within three minutes. The blood was everywhere, but nobody complained to me. I got out of the club without any punishment.

Q: Cool! When did it happen?

Tito: Well, I guess it was about four years ago.

Q: It is quite recent, isn't it? Excepting a fight story, I heard that you were fighting while doing a part time job at a porno shop when you were an unknown fighter. Is it true?

Tito: Yes, it's true. When I just started fighting, they really took care of me in many ways. The fight money was not enough for a living at that time. I worked only six hours a day, five days a week, but they paid me a lot. They also supported me in various ways such as making my own card. I still have a lot of gratitude for them. Nothing wrong about working at a porno shop. I wonder why everybody looks down on porno shops in spite of liking sex very much.

Q: After all, it seems like your young days can be described by "fights and women".

Tito: Apart from women, I was rough for sure. All my friends were members of gang, and I did fights all the time. But when I saw them caught by the police and sent to the prison, I thought I didn't want to be like them. Life is short, so I wanted to get out of the condition I was in, and have the best life.

Q: UFC was the best place for you who were struggling to get out of your terribly rough life, wasn't it?

Tito: Yes, it was. The fight of NHB led me to the right way.

Q: Let's back to your fighting. Now that you did a perfect win against Kondo, the ace of Pancrase, attention is paid to your next opponent. Yesterday you said, "if there is  anyone who wants to do a rematch with me, stand in the end of the line!" Don't you have intention to fight with Kondo again?

Tito: No, I don't for now. There are many fighters other than Kondo who want to challenge me, and I myself want to fight with more and more strong fighters. So if Kondo defeat a fighter whom everybody considers strong, I will give him a chance for a rematch with me.

Q: Then if Takahashi Yoshiki of Pancrase challenged you as revenge for Kondo, what would you do?

Tito: Takahashi.... I watched his fight with Wallid Ismail. He is tough. I want to fight with him. In fact, it is not officially determined yet,  but I might fight with him in March in Japan.

Q: What? Is it true?

Tito: It is convenient for me, because I wanted to fight with a Japanese fighter. There are top-level fighters of the world gathering in Japan now.

Q: So, regardless of weight, could you pick up Japanese fighters whom you consider strong?

Tito: First who comes into my mind is Sakuraba!  Tamura and Kondo follow him. These three are all great. 

Q: What about Takahashi? (laughing)

Tito: Oh! I forgot about him. (laughing) His fighting spirit is equally good to those three, so it will be a good fight, I think.

Q: But still, I didn't expect you to mention Tamura.

Tito: He is a great fighter, because he defeated Renzo by decision of judges. We are fighting in organizations with different rules, so it might be difficult to realize our fight. But I want to fight with him.

Q: You said after the fight with Kondo that you wanted to fight with Sakuraba or Renzo. Apart from Sakuraba, Renzo was defeated by Tamura and Sakuraba. But is he  still attractive to you?

Tito: Of course. Renzo was defeated only by the top-level fighters in the world. It means he is still a top fighter. In the fight with Tamura, the decision by judges was very close, and one more defeat is by Sakuraba. That's all, isn't it? Sakuraba is the best in the world! Renzo fought with him, who is the best in the world, evenly or more than that until he was caught with the arm-lock in the end. In that sense, he is a great fighter. Sakuraba is a fighter whom I want to fight with most. But I think it's impossible, because he has a contract with Pride. If so, I want to fight with Renzo.

Q: It seems that you have three more fights left in your contract with UFC. I think the only way to fight with Sakuraba or Renzo for you is to come up the ring of Pride. Don't you have any plan to go in Pride after the contract with UFC is over?

Tito: It's possible, if it's necessary to fight with Sakuraba. Regarding Renzo, however, I think I can fight with him in UFC in the near future. I'm sure that he will come to UFC.

Q: If the fight Tito vs. Renzo is realized, it will be great! But except for that fight, there is no any opponent who can fight with you in UFC, is it?

Tito: Whoever comes to me, I will beat him up. And It is said that Kevin Randleman (the former UFC heavy-class champion) will change the class to the middle. It is OK with me to fight with him, if he continues to fight in the middle class from now on. But I think he will be back to the heavy class some day. That's is the way such a guy does.

Q: Well then, for you who are the world top five in the middle class?

Tito: Let me see.... First, the top is Sakuraba, and next is me.

Q: Do you admit that Sakuraba is better than you who is the champion of UFC?

Tito: Yes, I do at this moment. He has left a great result so far. But I promise that I will go beyond him in the near future. And I think Frank Shamrock, Dan Henderson, Renzo or Tamura will follow me. If Randleman can lose weight, he will also join us.

Q: What about Rickson Gracie? Can't he be one of the top five?

Tito: Rickson? I'm eager to fight with him. If the fight between Rickson and me is realized in Japan, I will get fond of Japanese people much more than I do now. But I think he will never fight with me. If he fights with me, his fate will be the same as Kondo. No, he will get more bloody. That's why he will never, never, never fight with me! If he has enough courage to fight with me, he is worth being respected only for that. But he is afraid of me. He calls himself "the strongest in the world", doesn't he? Then why doesn't he fight with me, who is the world champion and always ready to fight with him? I never think that he is the strongest. The strongest is Sakuraba. He is the best. So defeating Sakuraba is a goal for me. It's easy to defeat Rickson. What is most difficult for me is not to defeat him, but to fight with him. He is the most difficult fighter in the world to fight with. (laughing)

Q: "The most difficult fighter in the world to fight with"...... Exactly right! (laughing)  Do the top fighters of NHB considers Rickson just like you?

Tito: Yes, everybody thinks so. When he does a fight, he chooses an opponent, doesn't he? He fights only once a year with a not so strong fighter. Naturally he can keep a non-defeat record under this condition.. (laughing) He has never fought with a fighter who is good at both standing and ground techniques. His strategy for victory is to choose an opponent whose technique is limited to only attacks and finish him with choke. He is an artificial champion, after all. I am different from Rickson. Whoever comes to me, I will make a record of a real successive victory in the future. So I want the Japanese fan to pay attention to the real champion, Tito Ortiz, from now on.

Q: I see. Then, I hope you will do your best in your next defense fight

(c) 2001, Yoko Kondo, all rights reserved.



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