It’s no secret that the former UFC champions are no longer on White’s Christmas card list, so to speak, with both crossing the boss in their own way. Ortiz frequently fought for better pay as he rose to stardom inside the octagon as one of the UFC’s standouts during the rocky early 2000s, while Couture actually walked away from the promotion and vacated the heavyweight title in 2007 over a contract dispute.
White has not forgotten these perceived slights and he didn’t hesitate to name Ortiz when asked if there’s ever been any fighters under the UFC umbrella that he’s actively rooted against.
“Tito Ortiz… when him and Chuck [Liddell] fought,” White told BigBoy TV. “As the promoter, you’re not supposed to have a rooting interest. I couldn’t f****** wait to see Chuck whoop his ass. A hundred percent. Especially, at such a critical time in the sport’s development and the development of the UFC, there are probably two guys that absolutely tried to destroy the company at that time and it was Tito Ortiz and Randy Couture. … Two of the worst guys to ever f****** deal with.”
Ortiz and Couture would go on to be part of some of the most important fights in UFC history alongside Liddell, even as disagreements over money and other issues continued to strain their relationship with White. Today, the two members of the UFC Hall of Fame’s Pioneer Wing are essentially excommunicated from the promotion.
At one point, Ortiz and White were even scheduled to box one another, a spectacle that fizzled, with both sides blaming the other for the fight not happening. Even now, White has extra scorn for Ortiz whenever “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” is brought up.
“Here’s the problem with Tito,” White said. “Tito’s just a really dumb human being. He’s not intelligent at all. He’s very, very f****** stupid, let’s start there. Look at him speak publicly anytime. Google ‘Tito Ortiz talking.’ And I don’t have any beef with Tito anymore. Tito, you know your f****** stupid, Tito, you know you are.
“Tito, we’d be coming up to a big fight that was on Saturday. Deals have been done for months. Tito would say, ‘I’m not going to show up unless you pay me another $150,000’ or whatever the number was. He would do this on the regular and I would go f****** crazy. Tito was always the type of guy that would step over dollars to pick up dimes because he thought he was smart, but he was the complete opposite of smart. He’s not a smart guy. He destroyed what could have been an incredible relationship because we loved Tito at the time. Tito was our guy, Tito was my guy, Frank and Lorenzo loved Tito. He absolutely destroyed a relationship that he could have had for the rest of his life over nickels. Nickels, in the big picture.”