Ortiz won this fight in impressive fashion, tapping Sonnen with a rear-naked choke in the first round to ride off into the sunset on a win.
Unfortunately, Ortiz’s big win was marred by widespread speculation that the fight might have been fixed. Many fans, and even a few reputable MMA media members, questioned the legitimacy of Ortiz’s win, saying that it didn’t look like his choke was properly locked up.
According to UFC President Dana White, however, these claims are unfounded. Speaking on the latest episode of the UFC Unfiltered podcast, White said he tuned into this Bellator card to watch Tito’s retirement fight, and that there’s no way the fight was a work. His words (via MMAJunkie.com).
“IT WAS MY FIRST [TIME WATCHING A] BELLATOR EVENT. I WATCHED IT, AND BOTH GUYS ARE 40-SOMETHING YEARS OLD. IT WAS BASICALLY A RETIREMENT FIGHT, AND A LOT OF PEOPLE WERE CALLING IT A FIX. THERE’S NO WAY.”
*“HERE’S ONE OF THE THINGS A LOT OF PEOPLE DON’T REALIZE ABOUT TITO ORTIZ. TITO ORTIZ – THIS F*CKING GUY IS SO STRONG. HE PUT ME IN A NECK CRANK ONE TIME AND ALMOST POPPED MY F*CKING NECK OFF MY SHOULDERS. THIS GUY IS PHYSICALLY VERY STRONG. AND I THINK HIS GROUND GAME IS VERY UNDERRATED BECAUSE TITO WOULD ALWAYS GET THAT TOP POSITION AND GROUND-AND-POUND PEOPLE.
“I DON’T THINK CHAEL HAS FOUGHT OR WON A FIGHT SINCE 2013, OR THAT BALLPARK SOMEWHERE… YOU TAKE THAT MUCH TIME OFF, AND THAT’S WHAT A FIGHT’S GOING TO LOOK LIKE. THERE’S NO WAY IN HELL THAT WAS A WORK. I’D LOVE TO COME ON HERE AND SH*T ALL OVER BELLATOR, BUT THERE’S NO WAY THAT WAS A WORK. THE THING YOU’VE GOT TO REMEMBER, HE’S A GOOD WRESTLER, [BUT] NEVER WAS CHAEL SOME BIG JIU-JITSU GUY. AND WHEN TITO ORTIZ IS CRANKING YOUR F*CKING HEAD OFF, YOU’RE 40 YEARS OLD … MAYBE I SHOULD TAP OUT HERE.”*
What did you think of Tito Ortiz’s defeat of Chael Sonnen? Do you agree with Dana White? Sound off, PENN Nation!
This article first appeared onBJPenn.comon 2/1/2017.