Tito Ortiz gave more details on the recent stare-down photo between him and Chuck Liddell. And from his explanation it doesn’t sound like there’s much chance he’ll be fighting again.
The idea of a Chuck Liddell’s MMA comeback has been brewing for a little while. It’s been a personal talking point of the former light heavyweight champion’s on occasion over the years, following his 2010 retirement from the sport. Most of that retirement time, however, was instead spent as something of a brand ambassador for the UFC, picking up paychecks to be the “Vice President of Business Development.”
Then, in December of 2016, following the UFC’s sale to WME-IMG, Liddell was laid off. And what once seemed like little more than a pipe dream has started to sound much closer to reality. Chuck Liddell might actually fight again.
It was under that context that Liddell made headlines in early June, posting a picture of himself facing off against long-time rival Tito Ortiz, along with the caption, “Why not?”
Ortiz was quick to mock Liddell for his suggestion, saying “because I don’t need the money,” along with an offer to lend Liddell some cash if he needed it. Ortiz later apologized for the remarks and, in a recent interview with Submission Radio, gave a few more details on the whole situation. Safe to say, it doesn’t sound like he’s making a return to MMA anytime soon, if ever.
“Not even a thought in my mind,” Ortiz said of a potential comeback. “I’m still like dying from neck pain. I have to get neck surgery here and I was supposed to get it a month a half ago and I just, insurance got denied so I gotta wait. They gotta appeal it and after they appeal it then it has to go through, back and forth, paper work. They make you jump through fire hoops to get the surgery done and I just, I don’t know, man, I can’t stand the pain but I have to wait to get the surgery. So fighting hasn’t even been an idea. Getting in the gym and training hasn’t even been an idea. I mean, I haven’t gotten into the gym since right before the fight. I think that’s the last time I did anything strenuous like that was fighting Chael Sonnen.”
And as for the photo-op that he and Liddell shared. Ortiz explained how it all went down from his end.
“I was at a poker event with Poker Stars and he was at the same event also playing, and the media wanted to take a face-off picture and I said, cool. And then when he started walking towards the back he said, ‘let’s do another face-off picture and let me post it.’ I was like, ‘alright, cool. I mean, you know it’s not gonna happen, why?’ I mean, but I guess he just wanted to get some play out of it, which he did. That night I re-posted ‘why not’ and I said why not. I just said it on emotions, I probably shouldn’t have did what I re-posted, but at that time I had a couple of drinks in me and the bad boy comes out every once in a while (laughs). I just, I just don’t plan on fighting. I don’t plan on people trying to force me to fight. I had to get neck surgery, why would I even think about fighting? Why would I even think about risking myself physically when I gotta take care of kids still?
“So I probably shouldn’t have said what I said on my Twitter. I was saying, you know, ‘do you need money? I’ll lend it to you.’ So I probably shouldn’t have said that. I shouldn’t have posted the video of him in Texas, but like I said, I did it all on emotions. I thought it was funny at the time and I apologized after and it’s behind me now. But like I said, Chuck wanted to get some play out of it, he did. I’m too old to be fighting. I’m 42 years old, I’m too old. I’m not a Randy Couture and I really don’t need the cash right now. So I’d rather make money in other means, more mental than the physical side. Being in the gym six days a week, six to eight hours a day isn’t really my idea of working anymore. That’s behind me now. It’s been 20 years and I think I’ve done all I needed to do. And yeah, I think I could beat Chuck, but still, I don’t need to do that anymore. My body can’t take it. That’s been my biggest enemy through my whole career, is my body. So I gotta step back and now I gotta use my brain. That’s what I went to college for. So let’s go ahead and continue doing that in an exciting sense.”
Ortiz did reveal, however, that while Liddell didn’t mention a return to action during the poker event, his team apparently reached out to Ortiz around the time of Ortiz’s retirement about putting together a potential bout. He also gave a lot more details on his past friendship with Liddell, and even a few teasers on Cris Cyborg’s potential upcoming fight. So, check the whole thing out.