Was Tito Ortiz vs. Chael Sonnen fixed? Dana White offers his take on the tap
Dana White had a gilt-edged chance to talk shit about his organisation's biggest rivals.
But, to everyone's surprise, the UFC president didn't take it.
Plenty of fans, as well as fighters, suggested that the Bellator 170 main event between Tito Ortiz and Chael Sonnen was less legitimate fight and more predetermined work as the submission with which Ortiz drew the tap from his opponent did not appear to have the requisite pressure to force a veteran grappler like Sonnen to give up.
— The Thugjitsu Master (@thugjitsumaster) January 22, 2017
And the oscar goes to #Bellator170
— Belal Muhammad (@bullyb170) January 22, 2017
Wow so was it fixed ? What does everyone think ?
— Nam Phan (@NamPhanMMA) January 22, 2017
It was a neck crank, rather than a deep rear naked choke, that forced 'The American Gangster' into submission and many found it just a tad fishy.
But, shockingly, White isn't one of the cynics calling bullshit on the fight-ending manoeuvre.
White never passes up the opportunity to take a pop at Bellator. Nor does he have the best relationship with Ortiz. So plenty were expecting the outspoken White to go in two-footed on one of the more contentious finishes in Bellator's history.
— SportsJOE (@SportsJOEdotie) January 22, 2017
But White's having none of the fight-fixing allegations.
"It was my first Bellator event. I watched it, and both guys are 40-something years old. It was basically a retirement fight, and a lot of people were calling it a fix. There’s no way," White said on the UFC Unfiltered podcast, as transcribed by Bloody Elbow.
The UFC boss has no reason to doubt that the Ortiz squeeze was enough to make Sonnen want to quit as he has felt the former UFC light heavyweight champion's power before.
"Here’s one of the things a lot of people don’t realise about Tito Ortiz," White continued. "Tito Ortiz, this fucking guy is so strong. He put me in a neck crank one time and almost popped my fucking neck 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."
Nine out of Sonnen's 15 career defeats have come by way of submission so it's not unheard of for him to tap out, and White points to that fact to back up his belief that the result was legitimate.
"There’s no way in hell that was a work. I’d love to come on here and shit all over Bellator, but there’s no way that was a work," he insisted. "The thing you’ve got to remember, he’s a good wrestler, never was Chael some big jiu-jitsu guy. And when Tito Ortiz is cranking your fucking head off, you’re 40 fucking years old...maybe I should tap out here."