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Friday, August 29, 2014
On this edition of No Holds Barred, host Eddie Goldman spoke with MMA legend and Bellator fighter Tito Ortiz.
With a storied MMA career that began in 1997, Tito Ortiz made his Bellator debut May 17, 2014, on that organization's first pay-per-view. He was matched up with Bellator middleweight champion Alexander Shlemenko, who was fighting at light heavyweight in this non-title bout.
Despite a layoff of almost two years, Tito Ortiz used his wrestling background to dominate Shlemenko, who is known primarily as a striker, and take him down and submit him with an arm triangle choke in just 2:27 of the first round.
We spoke with Tito Ortiz July 30 at a Bellator media day at Dave and Buster's in New York.
Discussing his reinvigoration as a fighter, he said, "I think that's what it really came down to, just kind of re-inventing the wheel, and I be the wheel. Just being in a positive environment and not being cut down and bullied upon as I did with my last organization I was with, and now it's just being respected for the champion and the fighter that I am."
He added, "It's nice to be where I am right now, and that's Bellator."
We discussed how he defeated the smaller Shlemenko with technique and not power, how he hopes to be back fighting around October or November, and whom he'd like to fight next.
"I'd like to fight for the world title," he said.
The Bellator light heavyweight belt is currently held by Emanuel Newton, who is scheduled to defend it September 12 against Joey Beltran.
Although his next fight is not yet set, Tito Ortiz said, "I'd love to be a world champion again. And I'm going to do it before I'm done with my three fights with Bellator."
We also discussed his training in Thailand with Thailand Top Team, why he believes that new Bellator president Scott Coker will make Bellator a lot better than it was previously, his other plans outside MMA, why he loves his kids more than fighting, his putting on wrestling camps, and how he still follows wrestling.
"It saved my life, and I know it saves a lot of other kids' lives," he said of wrestling.
He noted also that, in his opinion and the opinion of many others, the best MMA fighters have a wrestling base.
In addition, we discussed the potential for some form of submission wrestling to grow, why he has a "lot more chapters" left in his MMA career, hoe he does his own social media, and more.
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