At one point, White was Ortiz’ manager. The falling out came after White became the president of the fight promotion. The UFC was purchased by White’s childhood friends Frank and Lorenzo Fertitta in January 2001 and White was named the organization’s president. At the time, Ortiz was the UFC 205-pound champion.
White and Ortiz’ relationship went sour when Ortiz held out for more money after defeating Ken Shamrock at UFC 40 in November 2002. Ortiz was the fight promotion’s biggest star at the time and a mega-bout against rising knockout artist Chuck Liddell didn’t immediately materialize.
The tension between White and Ortiz built and in 2007 they both agreed to settle their differences in a boxing match. White took the challenge seriously, but Ortiz failed to show up at the weigh-in. A documentary on the boxing match that never happened was released on Spike TV showing White’s preparation and the dramatic no show.
In a recent interview with the Chattin Pony podcast, Ortiz explained why the boxing match with White didn’t happen.
“It was supposed to be 50/50 on any money that was revenued from the fight, and when it came about for the contract to sign — and I’ve always signed a bout agreement for a fight I was doing — that wasn’t in it,” Ortiz said. “I wasn’t making nothing out of it.”
“It was a lose-lose situation for me. And I said the fight’s not happening a month before the fight when they aired it on Spike TV, a three-hour session of Dana flying around… getting ready for the fight and everything. It was never supposed to happen,” Ortiz continued. “It was an opportunity for Dana to be a superstar, and he got that position, and he ran with it. He did it well.”
“The contract came and said I was making zero,” Ortiz explained. “I said, ‘Hold on a second, I thought you said 50/50?’ He (White) was like, ‘No, we can’t do that.’ I was like, ‘Well I’m not fighting then … but just don’t go on the scale and say Tito no-showed and is scared to fight,’ and that’s exactly what he did. I’m not fighting anybody for free.”