One of the great joys of podcasts is that there is always a microphone on and always a question to be asked. It’s not often that we get to hear promotion heads weigh in on what rival promotions are doing, regardless of it being good or bad.
Recently, however, Dana White appeared on the UFC Unfiltered podcast with Jim Norton and Matt Serra and was asked about Bellator. Specifically, the Bellator 170 main event between Tito Ortiz and Chael Sonnen. Both former UFC stars, and Dana was at one time Tito’s manager.
“It was my first Bellator. Listen, both guys are 40-something years old, it was basically a retirement fight. A lot of people were calling it a fix, here’s one of the things people don’t realize about Tito Ortiz. Tito Ortiz, this fucking guy is so strong, he put me in a neck crank one time and almost popped my fuckin’ head off my shoulders. This guy is physically very strong. And I think his ground game is very underrated because Tito would always get that top position and ground and pound people. I don’t think Chael has won a fight since 2013, in that ballpark somewhere. He’s 40 and Tito’s 41, and you take that much time off, that’s what the fight’s gonna look like. This is a young man’s game. There’s a couple of freaks that have been around that could do it longer than they should have. Dan Henderson is one of those guys. There’s no way in hell that was a work. Listen, I’d love to come in here and shit all over Bellator but there’s no way that was a work.”
Dana, of course, is referring to the allegations that many fans and media levied at Bellator, claiming the fight may not have been fully on the up and up.
Both Norton and Serra agreed with White’s assessment. Another thing they seemed to be in agreement on, was not that the fight wasn’t legitimate, but that Chael simply may have not been fully vested in it.
“He’s a good wrestler. Never was Chael some big jiu-jitsu guy. And when Tito Ortiz is cranking your fucking head off and you’re forty fuckin’ years old and you just had a kid, yeah maybe I should tap out here.”
Dana has history with both men, and as the head of a rival promotion, it was great to get his take on the fight. We look forward to hearing his thoughts on Bellator’s next main event between former UFC star Matt Mitrione and former UFC “one that got away” Fedor Emelianenko.