June 29, 2012
Ortiz ready to be a family man
By Jose Rodriguez, QMI Agency
Tito Ortiz has one goal and one goal only when he walks out of the UFC octagon for the last time.
“I want to be the father that my father never was,” says Ortiz, who will be inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame at his retirement bout against Forrest Griffin at UFC 148 next weekend.
The 37-year-old former light-heavyweight champ’s own childhood reads more like a police report than a Hallmark card.
As a boy, both of his parents became addicted to drugs and he spent his childhood in seedy motels in Santa Ana when times were good and sleeping in cars and running with gangs when they weren’t.
He’s grateful that wrestling rescued him from the streets and the importance of parenting is only punctuated by his own experiences.
“I’m a father of three boys,” said Ortiz, who has a 10-year-old from a previous marriage and three-year-old twins with long-time girlfriend and former porn star Jenna Jameson.
“Fatherhood will change a man for sure. You think you love your girlfriend? You don’t understand love until you have a kid.”
Ortiz says that for the past decade-and-a-half, he has been living a grind that includes three-month-long training camps before each fight.
“That’s three months that I’m away from my family,” Ortiz said.
“Watching my boys grow up so quick. It’s heartbreaking to be away for that long.”
But before the indefinite vacation with the family starts, Ortiz has to face Griffin for the third time. Each man has a split-decision victory over the other.
“I’m healthy. I have a great mindset. I’ve been in Big Bear for five weeks. All I do is sleep, eat and train and stay focused. I want to compete. I want to fight,” Ortiz said.
“Forrest has a huge heart. He’s a great fighter. He moves a lot but he stands in the pocket and he wants to fight. He wants to put on a show and that’s what the fans deserve. That’s why I want to make this my last fight.”
Ortiz says he doesn’t anticipate any added pressure when he walks to the cage for the last time.
“I think it will feel like all the rest of the times,” he says.
“I’m going to try to push Forrest. This has been 15 years in the making for 15 minutes of a fight.
“When I leave this career, I want my sons to know their father was one of the greatest in UFC history.”
UFC 148 will be headlined by a much-hyped rematch between middleweight champ Anderson Silva and Chael Sonnen.
The card is available on pay-per-view.
UFC Hall of Famers
• Former heavyweight champ Mark Coleman, 45, (16-10)
• Former heavyweight and light-heavyweight champ Randy Couture, 47 (18-10)
• UFC 1 winner and BJJ pioneer Royce Gracie, 43, (13-2-2)
• Former welterweight champ Matt Hughes, 36, (45-7)
• Deceased Tapout founder Charles “Mask” Lewis, 47
• Former light-heavyweight champ Chuck Liddell, 41, (21-8)
• Dan Severn, 52, (70-13-7)
• Ken Shamrock, 46, (26-11-2)
• UFC 148 goes July 7 from Vegas. The main event features champ Anderson Silva against Chael Sonnen for the middleweight world title. Quebec’s Patrick Cote will also take on Cung Le at the event. It is available on pay-per-view
• UFC on FUEL TV 4 goes July 11 from San Jose and features Mark Muñoz taking on Chris Weidman. It is available on Rogers Sportsnet
• Strikeforce Rockhold vs Kennedy goes July 14 from Portland, Oregon and features champ Luke Rockhold fighting Tim Kennedy for the middleweight belt. Nate Marquardt will also face Tyron Woodley for the vacant welterweight belt. The fight is available on Showtime
• UFC 149 goes July 21 from Calgary and features a interim bantamweight title fight between Urijah Faber and Renan Barao. It is available on pay-per-view.