The relationship between Tito Ortiz and Dana White has remained one of the most combustible situations in mixed martial arts for more than a decade. And the bad blood doesn't seem to be letting up anytime soon.
During the UFC's rapid rise to the forefront of combat sports in the mid-2000s, Ortiz was one of the organization's brightest stars and held one of the highest profiles on the UFC roster. While his record-setting run as light heavyweight champion would end shortly after Zuffa purchased the struggling MMA promotion in 2001, "The Huntington Beach Bad Boy" would continue to play a key role in the Las Vegas-based operation's success, as he was consistently involved in some of the biggest matchups that took place during the UFC boom in the aftermath of The Ultimate Fighter.
It was during this period when a rift between the former light heavyweight title holder and the UFC President began to surface, and the feud has continued at various levels of intensity ever since. While there have been periods of civility between the two men over the past 10 years, the better part of the past decade has found the MMA legend and UFC front man at odds.
From exchanging barbs in their respective interviews to an ill-fated boxing match that would never come to fruition, the grudge between White and Ortiz has consistently captivated the attention of MMA's passionate fanbase.
Yet everything appeared to be settled between the two parties when Ortiz's run in the UFC came to an end in 2012. The 39-year-old was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame leading up to his "rubber match" with Forrest Griffin at UFC 148, and despite losing a controversial decision on the judges' scorecards, the light heavyweight staple seemed to be making his exit on good terms.
That said, the world of MMA is an unpredictable environment, and it didn't take long before the feud between White and Ortiz reignited. The Punishment MMA founder came out of retirement to sign with Bellator last July and the beef between the two men has returned to its former glory in the 11 months that have followed.
Ortiz is coming fresh off a successful debut under the Bellator banner, where he earned a first-round submission victory over Alexander Shlemenko at Bellator 120 back on May 17 and brought a nearly two-year hiatus to an end. The ground-and-pound guru recently sat down with long-time MMA media staple Rick Lee to talk about his current situation with White and how he has dealt with the issues between them in the past.
Duane Finley is a featured columnist for Bleacher Report. All quotes are obtained firsthand unless noted otherwise.
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