Dana White: Tito Ortiz advised Cyborg Santos to turn down Ronda Rousey fight

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

SEATTLE -- UFC President Dana White's lips curled in amusement as an old antagonist somehow found a way back into his life.

"That's the fight that should be happening," White bristled, referring to Ronda Rousey's elusive superfight against Cris "Cyborg" Santos. "Tito Ortiz is her manager, and (he) advised her against it."

Ortiz and White have a lengthy and tumultuous history together, though this time the dynamics have changed. Following retirement, Ortiz founded the management firm Primetime 360, where he adopted Santos as one of his first clients.

Santos, the former 145-pound Strikeforce champion, has long refused to drop down to the bantamweight division, citing potential health problems with losing so much weight. In recent days, however, "Cyborg" has changed her tune, saying she would attempt to make the cut.

"I wasn't the least bit surprised," said Rousey. "I know she can make 135, and so does she. It just takes her a little while to realize that this is the only option she has. And it took her a little bit longer because I don't think she's that bright.

"It's going to happen eventually. I can't make these girls fight me when I want them to fight me. I've got a lot of respect for Liz (Carmouche). She's the only one that stepped up and said she wanted this fight right now."

According to both Rousey and White, not only did "Cyborg" turn down the spot opposite Rousey in the UFC's inaugural women's title fight, top contenders Sara McMann and Miesha Tate rejected the bout as well.

"I deal in the behind-the-scenes everyday, and what people say publicly and what they say behind-the-scenes are two different things," White explained. "I didn't know the McMann girl had been calling her out and saying that Ronda was ducking her. I made some phone calls with people and people were like, ‘Eh, I'd like to get a fight under my belt before I take that one.'

"Believe me, people aren't kicking the doors down to fight her."

For Rousey, there's little she can do but accept the fights offered to her. Though her rivals' insistence on fighting with words more than actions is starting to test her patience.

"These girls talk up a really big game, but they don't really want to come into the cage and fight me. So, I'm here. I've got this. If they want it, they know where I'm at."

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