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Tito Ortiz admits he held onto choke against Chael Sonnen after the tap: ‘I have ill will towards him’

Bellator 170 photos
John McCarthy breaks up Tito Ortiz’s submission of Chael Sonnen at Bellator 170.
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Tito Ortiz admits he held onto the choke that forced Chael Sonnen to tap a bit longer than he should have.

On Saturday night, Ortiz took on fellow former UFC fighter Chael Sonnen in the main event of Bellator 170. There was a lot on the line for Ortiz, as this was the final fight of his legendary career, and Sonnen had done a good amount of trash talking in the build up of the fight.

When the fight began, Ortiz was able to get Sonnen’s back in the first round after taking him down and escaping a guillotine choke. It didn’t take long from there for Ortiz to sink in a rear-naked choke, which forced Sonnen to tap. However, when Sonnen conceded, the action didn’t stop there, as Ortiz held onto the choke and continued to strangle the Bellator newcomer for an extra beat or two, even after referee ‘Big’ John McCarthy signaled him to stop.

Ortiz said it was his animosity towards Sonnen prompted him to ignore the initial tap.

“When he was tapping, I thought he was trying to grab my hands, but I kind of held on to it because I have ill will towards him,” Ortiz explained at the post-fight press conference. “But that’s just me, when someone talks about my family, when someone talks about my character, I have bad will towards the person. And I’ve never done that before, but it was just something in my mind saying, if I let go and they stop it and restart it again, I couldn’t let that happen.

“I apologize to the athletic commission for holding on to it a little longer, but I did hold on to it longer. I just had that ill will, I felt like an animal, I felt like a lion, and this lion roared how I said I was going to. This was my fight, no matter what, this is what I was going to do.”

Sonnen, for his part, wasn’t upset by the submission.

“I tapped and he didn't let go. I'm not upset about it. I don't have any ill feelings towards him,” Sonnen said. “But yes did he hold the choke after I tapped? Sure.”

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