Canada's leading sports channel, TSN, will invite Tito Ortiz and Ken Shamrock on its long-running show, "Off The Record," to lash out against their former boss and UFC President, Dana White. Once arch rivals and opposite Ultimate Fighter (TUF) coaches who could not stand the sight of each other, will now sit down with Michael Landsberg and discuss why they have a problem with White and the UFC's business practices, and vow to "expose the truth."
This is going to get interesting ... fast.
To think that these two men would ever sit side-by-side, calmly in the same room next to each other, would have been the most ridiculous assumption in the sport's history, but now, they have something in common.
Both Ortiz and Shamrock, along with his brother, Frank, who was supposed to join them on the broadcast but was unable to because of technical issues, feel that their contributions to the sport are not well documented enough and that their former employer, White, should be grateful for the money that they made him -- and how they shaped the company to be the juggernaut it is today as well.
The broadcast can be seen in Canada at 5 p.m. and we will have LIVE real-time updates as soon as the action gets underway, so be sure to refresh every few minutes to catch the latest quotes.
Alex here! The party gets started at 5 p.m. ET:
-- Alright, here we go, Maniacs! We're live, and Off The Record (OTR) has just started. Host Michael Landsberg starts off the show with hockey coverage, and says he will be joined later on in the program by two UFC legends, Tito Ortiz and Ken Shamrock. He asks the question:
"Is the biggest legend of all -- just a legend?"
--Landsberg shows a montage of Dana White, and says we will find out what Ortiz and Shamrock both think of their former boss, and asks us to stay tuned for his interview with both men.
--Right now, Landsberg is talking with two hockey personalities on last night's horrible hit on Loui Eriksson of the Boston Bruins, courtesy of the Buffalo Sabres' John Scott. Don't go anywhere.
-- And we're back, with the hockey enthusiasts bashing golf...(what do you expect, this is Canada, and hockey rules supreme here).
-- Landsberg continues the conversation with the two hockey pundits, and asks them about Vancouver Canucks coach John Tortorella.
-- We get an update on the bottom informing us that Tito and Ken are coming up shortly.
-- These two pundits are former players, Jeff O'Neill and Lyndon Byers, who are now talking about Lars Eller, who made controversial comments on the Edmonton Oilers. The MMA portion is up next.-- Right before commercial, Landsberg says that we call Dana White a legend and asks, "What will they (Ortiz and Shamrock) call him?
The gloves are off, up next!
(commercial break)-- We're back from commercial break, and Landsberg is joined by both men, who are not in studio. They are live via satellite (Tito from Irvine, California and Ken from Reno, Nevada).
We get a montage showing Ken Shamrock and Tito Ortiz, and their Octagon accomplishments.
Landsberg: They are two of the greats in MMA history, thank you for joining us today.
Ortiz: Thank you for having us.
Landsberg: So let's go...you guys helped build MMA into the sport it is today, but would you agree with me that the single biggest influence on the sport has been Dana White?
Shamrock: This is how I feel about it. You could argue all day about who has the biggest infuence, and this and that, depending on what seat you're sitting in and what fans, and what promoter.
Landsberg: I guess what I'm saying Tito is, you guys are legends without a doubt but I want to know where Dana White fits into the scheme of things in the history of our sport. Would you put him on top?
Ortiz: Well, Dana is a promoter. He goes out, away from his family, and promotes the sport for what it is. But he's not the one getting into the cage, and entertaining the fans who are watching -- and spending the money, and buying the pay-per-view and making him the billions of dollars that the UFC are making. Us fighters, are the ones who are stepping in, putting it our life on the line and putting on the entertainment value for the fans to watch.
Ortiz: (continued) You know, Royce Gracie, Ken Shamrock, myself...Coleman....
Ken (shouting): Frank...Frank, Frank!
Ortiz: Of course, Frank. All the athletes who compete are the ones who contribute to the sport for it to be what it is. And of course, the money that was put forward was by the Fertittas. They are the ones who saved the sport and put their money behind it, saved the sport, put their money behind us fighters who are name brands. Me and Ken are probably the ones who sold the most pay-per-views buys to this day.
Landsberg: It's interesting you talked about that list and mentioned those amazing fighters; you talked about Ken and Frank and the Fertittas. You left off Dana and that's what I really want to get a sense of, because I know there is some hostility, or a sense of it, behind that statement. What do you think about his contribution specifically to MMA?
Ken: Tito, Tito! This is kind of what it is...if Dana White didn't have you, or didn't have Chuck, or didn't have me, or didn't have Frank or the guys for him to be able to make money off of our sweat and our blood, where would he be? So without the charisma and talent we had, Dana White wouldn't have a job right now...
Landsberg: But there's always a fighter out there, like any sport, there are stars that are in the pipeline and the ability to be promoted. One of the biggest challenges, in anything, is the ability to promote from taking it from a narrow sport into a reasonably mainstream...which I think Dana has done brilliantly.
Ortiz: Of course he's done it brilliantly when you've got enough money to have a backing to do it. It's easy. You can sit there and cuss, have the fans listen to you, sit there and an act tough and put out a thing saying you're going to fight one of the fighters...and then talk smack about the fighter and make money off the fighter. Of course it's an easy thing to do.
Landsberg: Tito, you've done well financially from the UFC. Do you feel reasonably compensated?
Ortiz: Reasonably? Not reasonably. I'm well off, yes. Surgeries, I've had, and the things I look forward to when I'm 60 years old? No. I look at guys like Floyd Mayweather making $42 million dollars for a pay-per-view, what am I doing different from this guy's doing? I'm not just sparring, I'm going out there to hurt a guy. You want to see a fight? I'm fighting on Nov. 2nd, and it's going to be a fight. You're not going to see a boxing match. I'm going to try and hurt the guy,submit a guy, choke the guy, slam the guy... I'm going to try and put an elbow through his face.
Landsberg: Record wise, you've really struggled. Other guys will say hey, one of the greatest fighters of the sport, he doesn't know when to give up. That would be a sentiment that many fans would express. How would you respond to that?
Ortiz: Well, look at my opponents and who I've fought. I've always fought the top guys in the world, the supreme, the best of the best at 205 pounds. I've had split decisions, decisions, Chuck got the best of me twice -- that was long ago. My mind is straight.Landsberg: Would you tell people to buy this, and you don't work for Bellator...this is Tito Ortiz who is 38, and Rampage Jackson, who has struggled. Would you say, spend your $50 and buy that?
Shamrock: I don't watch TV fights because I get too amped up but I can't miss this one. If you don't buy this one, you're going to miss a great fight.
Landsberg: Here's what I'm wondering...you're coming back from knee surgery -- ACL reconstruction, this is incredibly fast and I think it's important to point out it was UFC that paid for your knee surgery, correct?
Ortiz: Yes, it was from when I fought Forrest Griffin. During the fight, I went for a shot...it was 9 weeks before the fight, I had a torn meniscus, cleaned up, took the fight. I guess during the fight I tore my ACL, and Lorenzo came out of pocket.
Ortiz (continued): I got a fair shake from Lorenzo. I'll never say anything bad about Lorenzo and Frank...they are the only two that gave me a fair shake.
-- We see highlights from Tito and Ken's final chapter fight, and the press conference leading up to it.
Landsberg: I'm going to beat you into a living death...can you say those words again?
Shamrock: I'm going to beat you into a living death.
Ortiz: I get so many people ask me, what were you thinking back then?
Ortiz (continued): I was thinking, do I get up and punch him or just laugh about it? As a champion, I'm just going to laugh about it...
-- Shamrock laughs as well.
Landsberg: How would you describe the emotion you felt when you kicked the chair?
Shamrock: I would say, under my breath I said ouch. I didn't turn up the way I expected, I think I hurt my chin and figured it looked pretty cool.
Landsberg: I'm interested to know, Ken, you actually owe Dana and the UFC $175,000...how are you going to handle that, is the check in the mail? What's the deal?
Shamrock: It's funny how people keep bringing that up. I can't really talk much on it, it's a legal thing. And right now, it's still being worked on. So, it's kinda funny when people talk about owing...if you look at how much money was made in the UFC when I was there, the buyrates that came in, and the idea that Dana White was going under when I came in...they were going the other direction and I said these buyrates will go over $100,000, I promise you...and he didn't believe me...
Shamrock: ..He lied to me about the buyrates were, because he didn't want to pay me for what I was supposed to get. So when you talk about someone owing you money...it really kind of makes me angry. Because if anybody really owes anyone money, he owes the fighters money.Landsberg: One thing you're forgetting, is that he's your boss...
--Shamrock and Ortiz join in unison...NO, NO, NO!
Ortiz: One of the thing's your forgetting is that we're the fighters. We're putting on the show...Look at boxing, how come they're making $40-50 million...
Landsberg: I'm told you made $18 million dollars...is that true?
Shamrock: How does that even matter? When you talk about a business, us fighters, have to go in there to negotiate a business deal. When you do that, you have to have all the cards on the table...how much money you're making, how much money on merchandise, how much on pay-per-view...how much money on the door, t-shirt sales, reselling video tapes...reselling of pay-per-views, all that needs to be laid out on the table to negotiate a proper deal.
Landsberg cuts them off, as the show goes off air and he plugs Bellator on pay-per-view on Nov. 2nd, thanking his guests. They say they appreciate it in return.
That's all for OTR. Thanks for tuning in with us.