Tito Ortiz was at one time the light heavyweight champion of the UFC, but he's been on the outs with the company for years after a tumultuous relationship. However, upon retiring from the sport after submitting fellow UFC veteran Chael Sonnen at Bellator 170, Ortiz got a congratulatory message from UFC President Dana White.
"He actually sent my girlfriend a text message. She used to work for UFC and they always talk back and forth. When I first signed with Bellator, Dana sent me focus mitts with his face on it and said, ‘If this doesn’t motivate you, nothing will.’ So I guess it’s that love/hate relationship we have toward each other. But, thank you Dana for the text, saying that’s the way I should go out, on top. I mean, I love the guy, he was my first manager. I always just fought for what I wanted for my career. No hard feelings, I’ve grown up a lot over the last four years, and I’ve done a lot of things business-wise for my future. I’ve made mistakes before and I will never make those mistakes again,” Ortiz said to ESPN.
White and Ortiz have had an on-and-off relationship for well over a decade. In the mid-2000s White was actually set to spar against Ortiz, and was followed by Spike TV cameras ahead of the session. Ortiz would ultimately withdraw.
Ortiz’s last bout in the UFC was a unanimous decision loss to Forrest Griffin at UFC 148 in May 2012, Griffin is also retired now as well.
You can see Fightful's Bellator 170 coverage at this link.