UFC's Ortiz Still Man Of People
Oct 9, 2006\r\n
TAMPA - Tito Ortiz awoke last week at 5 a.m. to board a flight from Fort Lauderdale to Tampa for a slew of promotional appearances.
Instead of flying on a luxurious private plane, he and some friends got to the airport early so they could be a part of the "A" seating on Southwest Airlines. Instead of lunch at The Capital Grille or Donatello, he scarfed down ribs at The Press Box.
Humbleness is not what you expect from a guy who has become an international star due to his success in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, better known as the UFC. He has appeared in the Jet Li movie "Cradle 2 The Grave," plus had acting roles in "Venice Underground," "The Crow: Wicked Prayer," "Valley of the Wolves" and "The Dog Problem."
And Ortiz has been dating porn star Jenna Jameson for the past three months.
As Ortiz (15-4) prepares to fight Ken Shamrock (26-11-2) this Tuesday in a light heavyweight battle at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel in Hollywood, Fla., aired live on Spike TV, he still clings to the advice given to him by pro wrestler Diamond Dallas Page in a club after winning a fight several years ago.
"I walked up to him. I said, I want to be a millionaire like you, I want to make as much money as possible, and how do I get into this wrestling thing. He told me I know you're the world champion right now with the UFC, but you have to always be honest with yourself. Don't ever forget where you came from, and if you ever do, look in the mirror and ask yourself who you are,' " Ortiz said. "From that point on, I've always looked at myself and never lost myself. I don't see myself as any different than anyone else. I'm the same as any other person. I've just taken advantage of the situations that have come across, and I have a great job."
Ortiz, who will participate in the biggest mixed martial arts fight ever aired off pay-per-view on Tuesday, has worked plenty of odd jobs that have contributed to his balanced attitude.
He worked on fishing boats, put up frames for houses, was a deck hand, long-range fisherman, bouncer, adult novelty store worker, roofer, construction worker, dabbled in cabinetry, and was even a high school wrestling coach.
"I really wanted to be a teacher until I realized they didn\'t make that much money," Ortiz said. "I came from a really poor upbringing, so I am materialistic in a lot of things. I like to spoil myself, and the way to do that is to make as much money as possible."
However much money Ortiz makes, it won't compare with Jameson\'s, whose Club Jenna company reportedly made $30 million last year.
Jameson, 32, and Ortiz, 31, met at a nightclub on July 8 after he defeated Shamrock by a first round technical knockout.
"I can pretty much say I'm in love with her. I've never met anyone like her. She's an amazing person. Very strong-willed, outgoing person and her attitude is amazing. She\'s very articulate, smart and cunning," Ortiz said. "Her business savvy is amazing. For a girl to go through the career she's done, and to be where she is in life and how much money she's made, and to become the icon she's become, you have to be intelligent to do that."
And what does Mom say about dating porn\'s biggest female icon?
"My mom doesn't know. She knows Jenna, but doesn't know that much," Ortiz said. "What Jenna used to do is almost six years ago. It's old news now. If she still did it, I probably wouldn't be hanging out with her, but sometimes you have to survive to get certain places. People take different roads, but she bettered herself from it and didn't worsen herself from it … Behind every good man is a good woman, and I can see her being that for me."
Ortiz may have found love, but it is not enough to offset his genuine hatred for Shamrock, whom Ortiz also defeated by a third-round TKO in 2002.
In their last meeting, Ortiz landed five consecutive forearms on Shamrock's head, and the fight was stopped at 1:18 of the first round. Shamrock believed the fight was stopped too early, and many of the fans in attendance booed the halt.
Tuesday\'s fight will be Ortiz's chance to prove his doubters wrong, and make the promotional trips worth wild.
"I hate Shamrock," Ortiz said. "He has a cocky attitude. It's not just the cockiness in the ring, but outside the ring. He walks around thinking he\'s better than everyone else. I watched a kid walk up to him one time and ask for an autograph and he blew the kid off. I told him "the fans are for you man. They are the ones paying our bills. Why are you acting like that?' He acted like he had things to do.
"This fight is our third and final chapter of our saga. It\'s something I want to get over with. I want to show the fans my last win wasn\'t a fluke, but something I worked my butt off for through hard work and dedication."
And a humble attitude.
UFC ON TV
WHAT: UFC Fight Night (Ultimate Fighting Championship mixed martial arts)
WHO: Light heavyweight Ken Shamrock (26-11-2) vs. Tito Ortiz (15-4-0)
WHERE: Seminole Hard Rock Hotel, Hollywood, Fla.
WHEN: Tuesday, 8 p.m.
TV: Spike TV\r\n
Video : Ortiz Profile