Tito Ortiz to Jon Jones: "I Stood Up for You When No One Else Did"

Jordy McElroy@https://twitter.com/JordyMcElroyCorrespondent ISeptember 8, 2012

Despite being one of Jon Jones' biggest supporters, Tito Ortiz feels like he was thrown under the bus by the 25-year-old UFC champ.

Jones has taken plenty of heat over the last few months.

He was arrested and charged with a DWI in May after crashing his 2012 Bentley into a telephone pole, and a couple of weeks ago, his refusal to accept a fight with Chael Sonnen prompted the cancellation of the entire UFC 151 pay-per-view event.

To say the least, Jones is running short on supporters these days.

Ortiz, a former "bad boy" himself, was one of the few people to actually stand up for Jones. There is no one who understands the rigors of being a world champion and dealing with the general public better than Tito Ortiz.

Perhaps he saw a bit of himself in Jones, a notion which developed a natural kinship between the two. In an interview with MMAWeekly Radio, Ortiz admitted he took a liking to Jones after getting an opportunity to spend some time with him.

I like Jon Jones. I think he's a great champion. I think he's a great guy. I've hung out with him in Vegas, and I really took a liking to the kid because he's, I think, the next best great thing. All of a sudden, I heard an interview from him saying, "People need to stop comparing me to Tito Ortiz because I don't talk about money."

And I took a very heartfelt, that was like a stab in my back. I was like, "I stood up for you. I stood up for you, and when no one else did, I stood up for you and you turn around and say something like that?"

Ortiz is alluding to comments made by Jones during a 41-minute interview with Ariel Helwani of MMAFighting.com.

While Jones respects Ortiz's accomplishments, he made it crystal clear he didn't want to be compared to the former UFC light heavyweight champ.

"It hurts to be on that different spectrum, to be compared to Tito Ortiz," said Jones. "I don't complain about money. I don't complain about anything. I do what I'm told. I'm the champion that fights way more than any other champion."

Ortiz, who is considered one of the pioneers of the sport, helped pave the way for fighters to earn better paydays. When most fighters remained silent, he was on the front lines standing up to the UFC brass and demanding to be paid what he felt he was worth.

It certainly wasn't a popular stance, and on several occasions, it nearly cost him his job.

Ortiz continues:

You have to understand, when you drive around in your Bentley, or I don't know if he even has it anymore since he wrecked it into a tree, but when you're driving around in your Bentley, you have to understand, I'm the person who put my life on the line and my career and my image and my name on the line to take everything I did to battle for your type of contracts that you have, for the money that you're making. If it wasn't for the things that I battled for, you'd be traveling in a Toyota right now.

Was this all a big misunderstanding, or did Jon Jones disrespect an MMA legend and all-time great?