Tito Ortiz called out Ariel Helwani the middle of a UFC 132 press conference for trying to “start sh*t” between him and Ryan Bader but a further look back indicates that Tito may be doing a bit of back tracking. Imagine that.
I watched the UFC 132 press conference on Thursday and was a bit taken back when Tito attacked Helwani for asking Bader about the accusations Ortiz made about Bader’s weak wrestling. Unless I missed something, Ortiz did criticize Bader’s wrestling earlier in an interview earlier in the week with…Helwani! So I took a look back at the original interview and the press conference to see whether Helwani was starting trouble or accurately quoting Ortiz. I’ll give you one guess as to how this is going to turn out?
[adinserter name=”366 left”]It all started in mid-week on MMAfighting.com. Helwani caught up with Tito Ortiz during a media day for a video interview. Helwani asked Ortiz some tough questions about whether this was Tito’s last fight or if he actually had to beg to get his job. Ortiz handled the questions well and didn’t appear to have any personal issues at that time with Helwani.
The interview concluded with Helwani asking Ortiz about Ryan Bader. Helwani asked Ortiz, “What are the holes in Ryan Bader’s game that you think you can exploit on Saturday night?” Here is how Ortiz responded to the question.
“His takedowns, his takedown defense, he doesn’t have much of a takedown defense. I look at his fights and there has only been one person that’s shot on him and took him down, Johnny Bones Jones. Nobody else ever took him down. They want to pound, they want to punch with him. Usually a wrestler’s kryptonite is another wrestler. I am going to go in, I’m going to push the game, I’m going to push the tempo, and he doesn’t look that good backing up. We’ll see what happens.”
What do you take out of that answer? Looking at that response (and Tito’s smirk when delivering it), I would think that Tito doesn’t have a whole lot of respect for Bader’s wrestling game. Ortiz was asked point blank about Bader’s defenses and he said point blank his wrestling. That is why I was a bit surprised when Tito completely backtracked on his analysis and tried to embarrass Helwani during the UFC 132 presser on Thursday.
Helwani asked Bader, “When I asked Tito about weaknesses in your game he brings up your wrestling. Does that surprise you considering your background is in wrestling?”
Now to me, that is a very logical question to ask by a reporter. As a matter of a fact, Helwani wouldn’t be doing his job if he didn’t ask it considering he was the one that got the comments from Tito, right? Not according to Tito Ortiz.
Ortiz interrupted the answer and said, “I never said he had weak wrestling. What are you starting sh*t for dude?”
[adinserter name=”366 left”]Hmm. I am taking either one of three things away from Ortiz’s hostile attack on Helwani. One, he doesn’t want to reveal his game plan to Bader which is to attack his wrestling. Two, he watched recent videos of Nick Diaz and Rampage Jackson bullying Helwani and figured he would jump on the bandwagon and deflect his statements made earlier on the week. Three, he remembers Matt Hamill dominating him on the ground at UFC 121 and doesn’t want to look like a fool for questioning Bader’s wrestling and then Bader pointing back to this press conference as motivation after he smothers Ortiz for three rounds at UFC 132. What do you think?
I am sure it had to be a mistake because Ortiz is certainly no liar. It isn’t like he said a couple of days before his UFC 106 fight with Forrest Griffin that he is 100% healthy and won’t make excuses and then two days later in the post fight press conference made a ton of excuses and blamed his injured back.
Watch the videos and decide for yourself who is starting sh*t and who is telling the truth.
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