While we were yacking away on the radio last night, there was some action going on at the UFC post-event press conference. Basically, Tito Ortiz wasn’t invited but he showed up anyways. There’s a whole bunch of accounts for what happened but the best one is from Sports Illustrated:
“Dana said I can’t be here,” said Ortiz, as UFC Public Relations director Jennifer Wenk spoke to him and pushed the microphone away, instructing the media not to ask him questions.
“Stay up there Tito,” said Jameson standing off to the side of the stage. “You deserve it.”
As Ortiz spoke to Wenk, he smiled and shook his head as he turned toward the media and said, “I’ve never been kicked out of a press conference before. After 11 years of giving my blood, sweat and tears to make this company what it is I think I deserve to stay.”
Ortiz would sit on the dais for nearly 30 minutes alone as extra security was brought in and Jameson continued to expound on the ridiculousness of the situation. “This is cementing what Tito has been saying for a long time,” she said. “Its freedom of speech, freedom of the press, let him speak.”
Finally White entered the room along with the other fighters, and looked at Ortiz surprised before addressing the media and the situation after I asked him why he didn’t want Ortiz at the press conference. “No, Tito’s welcome to come to the press conference,” said White. “Just as long as he’s not holding his own press conference, I think that’s the issue.”
It doesn’t surprise me one bit that Dana White tried to shut Tito out of the post-event press conference … he’s been scarce every time Tito has been around, skipping the weigh-ins to ‘avoid problems’ and disappearing from ringside during the Ortiz-Machida fight. I find it kinda pathetic that someone willing to talk so much smack to the media about Ortiz follows it up by HIDING from the guy on fight night, and trying to deny him access to the post-event press conference.
It’s shit like this that puts me firmly in Tito’s corner. If this is about money, then let it be about money. But treating someone who’s done so much for the company like absolute shit should raise a ton of warning flags amongst all the other fighters on the roster: this could be you, if you piss the Dana off.