Tito Ortiz rants against UFC branding during Bellator press conference 'This isn't called UFC, it's called MMA'

Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE

Tito Ortiz brought up an interesting contrast on his relationship UFC and Bellator during today's media call.

If any fighter perhaps knows the UFC and it's President Dana White best, it might be Tito Ortiz.

The former "Huntington Beach Bad Boy" was represented by White in the early portions of his career so he's dealt with the current UFC President on both sides of the negotiating spectrum throughout his now 16 year stint as a professional fighter.

So when Ortiz starts talking about branding, recognition and how a promotion treats its fighters, he's speaking from experience.

The former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion recently came out of retirement to sign with Bellator. He railed against some of UFC's business practices during today's Bellator pay-per-view media call / press conference, particularly how it treats the brand as more important than the stars it's supposed to be creating and why he decided to sign with Bellator in the first place:

"Bellator isn't about the brand, they're about making stars and making people as they should be. We go out there and we kill ourselves, practically. You want to be a superstar? You've got to put in the time, you've got to put in the work and you've got to put on good fights. Bellator wants to support the guys that do that. It's not about the brand in Bellator. That'll always be there. It's about the fighters and the superstars and Bjorn [Rebney] understands that. And for once, a business understands that. And to have him behind your back doing that, that's what I always dreamed."

We hear all the time about UFC and brand recognition. Walk up to 10 people on the street and ask them if they've heard of UFC or if they've heard of MMA, and you'll probably have more people answer "UFC." The promotion has likely achieved it's goal of becoming the "Kleenex" of the sport.

Ortiz isn't quite as pleased about that, because he feels that means the fighters aren't given the respect they deserve for building that brand.

"This isn't called UFC, it's called mixed martial arts. Us fighters that are putting our lives on the line, we're the ones putting people in those seats, selling pay-per-view buys, we're the ones putting our lives on the line to make that happen. We're the ones that should be getting the most recognition out of anything and everybody else should just get the rest as it comes in."

While Ortiz didn't bring up UFC President Dana White by name, he did discuss how a boss should act when a fighter is over, particularly if you lose.

"If we lose, our boss isn't gonna sit there talking smack on us, talking shit on us the whole time, how horrible we were, we should be retired and this and that."

Ortiz and White have had it out a bit recently in the media, with White calling Ortiz "old, irrelevant and likely in need of money," so they're not exactly on the same terms they were on when "The People's Champion" was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame last summer.

Ortiz will take on Quinton Jackson in the main event of Bellator's first ever pay-per-view on November 2, 2013 in Long Beach, California and you can expect things to only heat up from here.

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