It looks like time does in fact heal all wounds.
Recently there has been much speculation about the possibility of Zuffa selling the UFC. In response Dana White has come out publicly denying any whole sale of the company but admitting that a partial sale of some stake may occur as the company tries to grow internationally. However fifteen years of White talking to the media about the operations of the UFC has left many in the MMA community speculating about a full sale and what the parameters of that might look like. These guesses usually assume that selling a majority stake in the UFC would mean the end of Dana White as President, however an old enemy of White's is now vocalizing his belief that White is the only man who can effectively lead the UFC.
Last week in an interview with RJ Clifford and Steve Cofield on SiriusXM Rush Fight Club, Ortiz spoke about the possibility of a UFC sale and how the organization would fare without Dana White at the helm.
"I think the promotion would completely fail. I think it would crash and burn, that's my opinion. I think Dana does a great job with the promotion. Sometimes we don't agree on the same things but that's just between me and him. Like I say, it's a girlfriend-boyfriend type of relationship, him being the girlfriend of course."
Tito Ortiz is the poster child for UFC discontent, particularly in regards to Dana White. Ortiz and White have been feuding essentially since Zuffa purchased the UFC in 2001. At the time Ortiz was the promotion's biggest star and their fighting resulted in Ortiz sitting out multiple times in contractual disputes. One of these incidents was even resolved in part by a contractual stipulation wherein White would be forced to box Ortiz as part of his return to the organization. Eventually Ortiz left the UFC and signed with Bellator. Once there he and White proceeded to trade shots with each other with, among other incidents, Ortiz calling White "childish" and comparing the UFC to slavery. Apparently, according to Ortiz, slave masters are excellent corporate presidents.
"Dana does a great job with what he does and that's why the company is worth four billion dollars. Lorenzo [Fertitta] has stepped in and is doing an amazing job - from stepping down from Station Casinos - for what he does now. And giving the opportunity to Cris, I'm very thankful for that. But at the end of the day this is a business to them and if they're able to sell it off for four billion, do what's needed. I gave my heart and soul, blood, sweat, and tears to the company. I've gone on with my business and that's the way it is.
"I think if the Chinese company didn't bring Dana in it would crash and burn. It would be a lost cause but I guess it's up to Dana to make those decisions."
For a man who has historically been the biggest pain in Dana White's side, those words sound almost friendly. This isn't entirely without precedent though; during his Hall of Fame induction Ortiz thanked Dana White and the Fertitta brothers and recently he stated that he regrets some of how he handled his disputes with Zuffa. Perhaps as Ortiz nears retirement nostalgia is softening him towards White.
Ortiz isn't retired yet though. He has one fight left on his contract with Bellator and he claims that will be his final fight. As far as who Ortiz would like to end his illustrious career with he had one unexpected opponent in mind.
"This is the last fight on my contract, it's the last fight that I want to compete. I'm 41 years old. I was supposed to be retired and done with this business at 40. Nineteen years I think is good enough for me. So let's go out with a bang. Let's go out with one of the biggest names in the world of mixed martial arts.
"Royce Gracie is here, he's competing. He just stopped Ken Shamrock super quick. I think that would be a fun fight. I got caught with a submission by a black belt, Liam McGeary. Royce Gracie's a black belt. Can he catch me? That's a question. We're both old pioneers of the sport, legends of the sport. I think the names would sell. Let's give the fans something exciting."
At least it's better than boxing Dana White.
You can listen to a clip of Ortiz talking about Dana White and the potential UFC sale below.
5 MUST-READ STORIES
Civil War. Conor McGregor talks about his recent troubles with UFC brass.
Nah. Amanda Nunes thinks Ronda Rousey will have to come after her once she wins the title.
Color me shocked. Tarec Saffiedine may be out of his upcoming bout with Rick Story.
JDS. Junior dos Santos believes Stipe Miocic will defeat Alistair Overeem.
Or he just wants a fight. Will Brooks says Justin Gaethje is 'trying to ride his coattails' by challenging him.
EXTRA CREDIT READING
Dagestani Knuckle Game Cartel. Karim Zidan of Bloody Elbow wrote a truly great longform about the North Caucasus region of Russia (where a lot of high level MMA talent is coming from) and why many of the people in the region don't identify as Russian.
Manhoef got robbed. Big John warning Carvalho FIVE times without taking a point was ridiculous and the judges were classic MMA judges. Also if that first round wasn't a 10-10 round, there is no such thing as one.
Post-fight interview with Mayhem Miller. Says he's not going to quit fighting and was just knocking some rust off.
Chael on Bisping getting the title shot. Logic is pretty sound.
A dinner doubleheader.
Cowboy making my job easy.
Because this event happened 7 years ago today, here is Chael Sonnen's first UFC post-fight presser. Still charismatic but without the pro-wrestling stuff. Interesting to look at.
This video should make it abundantly clear that the McGregor-Mayweather thing will never happen. But JBJ joining The Money Team might be interesting.
Media mega pod.
Featuring James Vick.
Bas talking about all the news of the day.
I don't prepare for opponents, I prepare to reach my potential. #ufc199 @ewillphoto pic.twitter.com/QxfNyuRbGa— Luke Rockhold (@LukeRockhold) May 22, 2016
Rough weekend for an WMMA pioneer.
Current mood: still astonished. pic.twitter.com/ZLM8yd4m4c— MarloesCoenen (@MarloesCoenen) May 21, 2016
Uncle Creepy doesn't have the same ring as Heisenberg.
Not yet https://t.co/teJsQBjp5u— Ian McCall (@Unclecreepymma) May 21, 2016
Bellator giving DL a shoutout.
Heeeeyyyyyyyyyy #knockoutking pic.twitter.com/3kvhdg5gM1— Derrick Lewis (@Thebeast_ufc) May 21, 2016
Nate making them come to Stockton is so wonderful.
Gadelha out there smoking Aldo.
Me and Aldo getting ready for our tittle fight. July is coming!! || Eu e Aldo trabalhando o condicionamento para julho. #teamgadelha #teamclaudia #mma #ufc #strawweight #tuffinaly #tuf23 #ufc200 #theultimatefighter #grinder #Repost @cdpd_ with @repostapp. ・・・ Rumo aos cinturões do @ufc. Em preparação física os atletas @josealdojunioroficial e @claudiagadelhaufc sob as orientações do preparador físico @orlandofolhes #CDPD #heidevencer #CDPDcursos #estúdioCDPD #preparaçãofísica #preparaçãofísicaparatodos #ufc #orlandofolhes #metodologiaCDPD #bellator #surf #mma #triathlon #bjj #run #corrida #CDPDparaTODOS
Pumped about this one.
Confidence is key.
But Bisping wrapped filming a week before he has to weigh in.
Ian McCall (13-5-1) vs. Justin Scoggins (11-2-0); UFC 201, July 30.
John Moraga (16-4-0) vs. Matheus Nicolau Pereira (11-1-1); UFC: The Ultimate Fighter 23 Finale, July 8.
Ilima-Lei Macfarlane (3-0-0) vs. Rebecca Ruth (6-1); Bellator: Dynamite 2, June 24.
Guilherme Vasconcelos (7-3-0) vs. Jordan Dowdy (3-1-0); Bellator: Dynamite 2, June 24.
TODAY IN MMA HISTORY
2004: Takanori Gomi scored the fastest KO in Pride history, knocking out Ralph Gracie in 6 seconds with knees at Pride Bushido 3.
2009: The Machida Era began. Lyoto Machida knocked out Rashad Evans to become the UFC light heavyweight champion at UFC 98.
This event also marked the first time Chael Sonnen appeared at a UFC post-fight press conference and started his run towards a middleweight title shot against Anderson Silva.
2015: Daniel Cormier won the vacant UFC light heavyweight championship, beating Anthony Johnson by third round rear-naked choke at UFC 187. The event was supposed to be headlined by a title bout between Johnson and the reigning champion Jon Jones, however Jones was stripped of the title in April due to his involvement in a hit-and-run accident and Cormier stepped in to replace him.
Also at the event, Chris Weidman defeated Vitor Belfort with punches from the mount to defend his middleweight championship and Andrei Arlovski and Travis Browne went to war in the first round with Arlovski stopping Browne at 4:41 in 2015's round of the year.
Think I missed a spot? Found something you'd like to see in the Morning Report? Just hit me up on Twitter @JedKMeshew and we'll include it in tomorrow's column.