There’s a lot of people out there who think that Tito Ortiz is just playing around with all his negative talk towards Dana White and about leaving the UFC. They say “Oh, he’s just setting himself up to get paid more when negotiations start.” And while I agree that’s not a bad tactic – the whole “You want me more than I want you” thing – I don’t think that’s what he’s up to.
It’s one thing to make it known that you’re seriously considering your options and another to consistantly say “I’m never going to work with these people again.” You’re also hearing a lot of ‘respect’ talk, which means that no matter how many zeros are in the UFC’s offer, they may not be enough.
I’ve been saying it for a while: Dana White has really been playing a dangerous game by shitting on Tito and his girlfriend. The only rationalization I can think of for this behavior is that Dana thinks Tito Ortiz would be more of an expense than an asset for whoever else he signs with. What Dana doesn’t realize is that Tito thinks of himself more as a businessman now than a fighter. While with the UFC, that just meant grubbing as much money from the organization as possible. But with another organization…
Consider this: Tito Ortiz signs with EliteXC for X amount per fight, plus a stake in the company. All of a sudden you’ve got a Tito Ortiz that’s just as interested in the health of the promotion he’s fighting for as for his own interests, because now they’re intertwined. Add in the extra incentive of getting to go head to head with the UFC and competing with Dana White, and I think you’re going to see a very different Tito Ortiz.