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Tag: Tito Ortiz

Exclusive Interview: Renato ‘Babalu’ Sobral

Renato Babalu Sobral Strikeforce MMA
(Photo courtesy of

One of the most unfortunate aspects of Tito Ortiz’s bizarre negotiation cock-up with Affliction is that it’s jeopardizing his grudge match with Renato “Babalu” Sobral, the Brazilian UFC vet who would love, love, love to kick the crap out of him. After Sobral’s impressive unanimous decision over Mike Whitehead last month at “Affliction: Banned,” a meeting between Babalu and the Huntington Beach Bad Boy seemed inevitable. Right now, the only thing that’s certain is that Sobral will be fighting Bobby Southworth on September 20th for Strikeforce’s light-heavyweight championship, and he’s currently training hard to be worthy of the belt. Our own Luiz De Souza chatted with Sobral recently about Ortiz, Strikeforce, and the real story behind his unique nickname.


CAGEPOTATO.COM: First of all, how likely is it that we’ll see you face Tito Ortiz in Affliction?
RENATO SOBRAL: I don’t know when that fight will happen. It’s not up to me — if it was, I would have beaten his ass yesterday.

You’ve said that facing Tito would be your “dream fight.” Why is that, exactly?
First of all because he said that I am a “C-class fighter,” then he went on to say that I am a third-world country fighter. It would be a pleasure for me to kick his ass.

What do you think of him as a person?
Well…he is a good fighter. But it would be my pleasure to send him to hell.

If you two fought, how do you think the fight would end?
Whatever way in which the ending is me sending him to hell.

The salaries for some of the fighters at the first Afflicton show were incredibly high — do you feel like you were underpaid compared to guys like Ben Rothwell, Matt Lindland, or some of the other headliners?
I don’t really comment on money. Some make more money; others who are just starting make less. I have nothing to complain about.

How has Affliction treated you, compared to some of the other promotions you’ve worked for?
I’ve been treated very well by everyone, and I have nothing to complain about. I am a professional. Fighting is a business — the show doesn’t have to be the fighter’s father and mother.


Donald Trump Jr. Shocked at Ortiz’s Demands

(Trump Jr.: Voted most likely to buy and sell jerks like you.)

In an interview with MMA Rated Radio today Donald Trump Jr. discusses the Trump involvement in Affliction, along with related topics. The interview as a whole is definitely worth listening to, if for no other reason than to hear the occasional Thurston Howell III-type inflection come into Trump Jr’s voice, but things really get interesting when they start talking Tito Ortiz.

As we’ve all heard by now, the talks aren’t going well, which is par for the Tito course. But to hear Trump Jr. tell it, Ortiz’s sense of his own worth is even more out of control than we thought:

“It was a bit of a shock to us…I can’t make it a one man show or the Tito Ortiz show giving him more than a guy like Fedor who is coming in here with a winning record…I was (disappointed). I was shocked. It was almost like don’t even bother calling back because there is no point in making a deal here…it was aggressive.”

“There’s nothing concrete as of yet. If we can come to something, great. If not, so be it.”

“I think Tito’s obviously a good draw and he’d be good to have for a show. To say anything else would be stupid. However, that draw comes with an expense. In the cost-benefit analysis the question is, is it worth it? The answer is, at those numbers, definitely not.”

Trump Jr. also said that he was not surprised to hear the reports that Ortiz was once more negotiating with Zuffa, saying he expected him to “try and play both sides,” but given the acrimonious relationship with Dana White he thinks Ortiz will eventually end up signing with Affliction.

If it doesn’t go down that way, I doubt the Trump’s will be crying into their martinis. At Ariel Helwani’s prodding, Trump Jr. seemed to admit that the early negotiations with Ortiz have made him wonder if the guy isn’t more trouble than he’s worth, regardless of the price. Like the magic eight ball says, ‘All signs point to yes.’


Tito Ortiz Seeking to Annoy as Many MMA Organizations as Possible

Despite announcing that he had signed a “ground-breaking record” deal with Affliction, Tito Ortiz is now said to be negotiating with other organizations, including Elite XC and the crazy Kentuckians of the AFL. It seems only fair. Why should Affliction get to hog all the Tito crazy? Their contract negotiations with him are said to be troubled, so that could be the impetus for him looking elsewhere. He’s even said to be in talks with the UFC, which might be the source of this anonymous quote:

“I don’t know if we’re really negotiating, or simply helping Tito stroke his giant ego,” one frustrated company representative said Sunday, Aug. 17.

Why does it have to be an either/or situation? Why can’t it be both? This is Tito Ortiz we’re talking about. Most of his actions are designed to boost his ego.

The idea that Tito could end up back in the UFC is, in a word, insane. Not only is he not enough of a draw at this point to justify the price tag or the headache, but Dana White seems to genuinely hate him too much to give him any more money or TV time. It would seem more likely that the UFC is trying to drive the price up on Affliction, but that’s just one man talking sense.

If Ortiz does sign with the AFL — the organization known for giving huge contracts to lesser-known female fighters and putting many of their economic eggs into the AFL-brand dress pants basket — I think it’s safe to say that they will officially be the zaniest and least viable MMA organization in existence. Now that I think about it, that does seem like the appropriate home for Tito.


Dana White Talks Failed HBO Deal with Playboy

The good people at famed gentleman’s magazine Playboy have an interview with UFC prez Dana White in their September issue (which drops Friday, August 15) and one of the more interesting nuggets to come out of it are White’s remarks on what torpedoed the HBO deal:

“I pulled the plug at the 23rd hour. HBO was pi**ed off… I would have had to sell out, literally. They would have owned the UFC… I took meetings with HBO’s boxing guys. I’ll tell you, if I had to hear one more time about how many fu**ing Emmys they had won, I was going to dive out the window. I said ‘You won a bunch of Emmys, but I’m kicking your a** on pay-per-view.”

Awesome. Do I believe Dana White actually said that to HBO executives? Not really, but it’s still a good story. As much as people criticized him for not making the HBO deal happen, you have to respect his desire to maintain his autonomy, even if it means not blowing up big time with HBO’s Emmy factory.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a Dana White interview if he didn’t bash Tito Ortiz:


Affliction’s Contract Talks With Tito Ortiz Sound Downright Painful

(Tito and Jenna, still trying to solve that age-old argument about which is the more lucrative industry: fighting or screwing?)

Here’s what you know going into contract negotiations with Tito Ortiz: he is going to insist that you pay him waaaay more than he’s actually worth, and he will genuinely believe that it’s justified. That’s what Affliction is finding out. After claiming he had a “ground-breaking record” contract in the works only to have his statement directly contradicted by Affliction COO Michael Cohen, Ortiz is now actually said to be in negotiations with Affliction, though it isn’t going well.

Affliction VP Tom Atencio told MMA Weekly, “We’ve got a contract, and it’s just not feasible.”

I think we can untangle that odd syntax enough to infer that what he means is Ortiz has told them how much money he wants and it’s absolutely ridiculous. Color me surprised. The problem is that Ortiz has an inflated sense of what he can bring to an MMA organization at this point. For example, he claims that he’ll do a guaranteed 500,000 pay-per-view buys for Affliction. This is what’s known as “crazy talk.”

Ortiz isn’t that big a star anymore. He only thinks he is. MMA fans have seen him limp along the last few years with victories over an over-the-hill Ken Shamrock and his more recent loss to Lyoto Machida, so it isn’t likely that too many of the hardcore faithful are dying to see “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” back in action.

If his reasoning is that fans of “The Apprentice” are going to plop down forty bucks to see him fight “Babalu” Sobral (who most of them have probably never heard of) in Affliction (an organization they may or may not be aware of), then he’s overestimating the reality TV crowd’s attention span. They’ve forgotten him in favor of Brooke Hogan and Mr. Boston by now.

When the people who paid Matt Lindland $300,000 and Tim Sylvia $800,000 think your expectations are “not feasible,” you must really be off the mark.


Dana White Slams Huerta, Dines with Perfectly Sane Rampage Jackson

Dana White’s UFC 87 Video Blog – Watch more free videos

Dana White’s video blog is back, and it picks up steam around the 3:34 mark when he sits down to dinner with Rampage Jackson, who is totally “not crazy”. Just suffering from some “delirium”, as it turns out, but otherwise seems to be back to his old self. But don’t worry, the Dana White news update doesn’t stop there.

White appeared on a radio show recently (download the full version here, via Bloody Elbow) in which he has some sharp words for Roger Huerta. As you might have guessed, he is not pleased with Huerta’s comments bashing the organization’s treatment of him, and White responds by painting Huerta as an overhyped prima dona. And who overhyped him? The UFC, of course. But that doesn’t mean he should believe it, according to White:

“Roger Huerta’s a guy who’s been reading the headlines a little too much. You get out there and promote the guy and he’s like, “Look at all the papers I’m in, look at all the promotion I’m getting, I want a lot more money.’ Well he hasn’t fought anybody to get the money yet. He beats Kenny Florian, that’s a whole different ballgame.”

“Roger Huerta has contract problems? What’s his contract problem? He signed a contract, he’s under contract, when his contract is up he’ll renegotiate a new one. …What he was bitching about was doing PR. In his thing he said, ‘They got me out there doing PR.’ Yeah, moron. How do you think you make money? You don’t make money unless people know who you are and want to see you fight. Am I supposed to pay Roger Huerta to go out and do PR? Is that how it works?”

“That’s not how it works. When Oscar De La Hoya fights, he’s on Leno and Letterman. The night before his fight, he weighs in in Las Vegas, and then flies to Los Angeles to do PR for the fight. Because he makes more money. Because he becomes more popular and more people want to see him fight. …What happens is these guys turn into pussies, is what happens.”


Affliction Signs Horodecki, Announces Nelson-Buentello, But Where’s Tito Ortiz?

(That’s the kind of youthful exuberance Affliction needs!)

Today’s Affliction press conference managed to temporarily steal some of the media spotlight away from UFC 87, as the organization announced that they had signed former IFL lightweight Chris Horodecki, and revealed a planned bout between IFL heavyweight champ Roy “Big Country” Nelson and Paul Buentello at their next in event in Vegas on October 11. That’s right, Nelson will not face Xtreme Couture’s Jay White in a pump-up squash match, as was previously rumored. Instead he’ll get something closer to a real test when he takes on the revitalized Buentello, who is fresh off a decision victory over Gary Goodridge at Affliction: Banned.

Affliction VP Tom Atencio said he was “really excited” about signing Horodecki and added that “everything is falling into place for Las Vegas.”

What Affliction didn’t announce at the press conference was the official signing of Tito Ortiz, who was said to be close to a “ground-breaking record contract” with the organization. According to Michael Cohen, Affliction’s COO (also Special Counsel to Donald Trump, see how that works?) there’s nothing to get excited about just yet:


Tito Ortiz Signs “Ground-Breaking Record” Affliction Contract

Tito Ortiz Affliction MMA
(“Yaaaaaaaay!” Photo courtesy of MMA Mania.)

According to, Tito Ortiz signed a deal with Affliction yesterday that will make him the highest paid fighter in MMA history, and will compete at Affliction’s “Day of Reckoning” card (October 11th, Las Vegas); his opponent is expected to be Renato “Babalu” Sobral. Though he wouldn’t drop specific numbers, Ortiz told SI’s Arash Markazi:

“I guarantee you that my contract will be like no other…It will be a ground-breaking record contract for sure, without a doubt. There’s so much money to be made right now in mixed martial arts and it’s all about the fighters trying to make that money. It’s going to be a long-term deal where I put my heart and soul into the company and help build them…They’re going to bring me on, not just as a fighter but also doing some of the back work also…

I’m going to a company that’s going to take care of me, a company that’s going to respect me, a company that’s going to put me in the forefront and make me the ambassador that I’ve always been.”

Regarding Affliction’s drawing power with him on board, Ortiz was optimistic — perhaps insanely so:

“I know they want to make some money and I know they got over 100,000 pay-per-view buys on their first show and with me it’s guaranteed to be over 500,000 pay-per-view buys just by the number of fans that are going to follow me no matter where I go so they’re going to get there money’s worth just in pay-per-view no matter what.”


Quick Hits: IFL Fighters to Affliction, Great MMA Book Reviews, and Dana White’s Net Worth

(‘Who has the nachos? Don’t act like I don’t know nachos when I smell ‘em!’)

After reports that Zuffa was buying the video library and at least some of the IFL’s fighter contracts, we kept expecting the flood of stories about all the ex-IFL’ers making the jump to either the UFC or WEC. So far news has been relatively light on that front, but it looks like Affliction has swooped in to pick off a couple of top prospects for themselves. reports that Roy Nelson will face Xtreme Couture’s Jay White at Affliction: DoR (the abbreviations have already begun, deal with it) in October. Nelson was the IFL’s only official heavyweight champ, and White is…2-5. Wonder which of these guys is being groomed for a big future in the stacked Affliction heavyweight division?

Meanwhile, Sherdog is passing along info that a rematch with Antonio Rogerio Nogueira has been offered to IFL light heavyweight champ Vladimir Matyushenko. Vladdy beat Little Nog via decision in 2002, and he never faced much of a test during his unbeaten run in the IFL. Matyushenko would make an excellent addition to the growing 205-pound ranks in Affliction, which should soon include Tito Ortiz, who Matyushenko lost a decision to in 2001.

In other news…

- Fightlinker has enlisted the services of Matthew Polly — author of this hilarious and highly recommended book — to review several of the MMA “memoirs” that have hit the shelves in recent months. Polly does to their sense of narrative and craft (and their ghostwriters’ sense of exactly how much work they’d have to do to get paid) what these same fighters would likely do to the face of anyone who uses words like narrative and craft. Fun times. Check out his review of “Iceman: My Fighting Life” and you’ll see what we mean.

- Ever wondered how rich Dana White really is? Well, rich. But Wall Street Fighter tries to nail down a solid figure. It’s actually harder than it sounds, although their photoshop of the UFC Prez is just adorable.


Tito Ortiz vs. ‘Babalu’ Likely for Affliction 2

Tito Ortiz MMA UFC Affliction

Considering how “special” Donald Trump thinks Tito Ortiz is, this moment was inevitable: Steve Cofield is reporting that Affliction’s second event (October 11th, Las Vegas) will feature a co-headlining bout between Tito Ortiz and Renato “Babalu” Sobral. Though a 60-day non-compete clause in Ortiz’s UFC contract has prevented Affliction from dealing with the HBBB to this point, Ortiz will soon be free to re-launch his career with another fight club, and Affliction VP Tom Atencio is expected to drop the news at a press conference on August 6th.

According to Cofield, “Atencio said the biggest stumbling block for an Ortiz deal would be the financial terms.” Which is especially true given Affliction’s already-loose purse-strings — if Tim Sylvia is worth $800k, and Fedor Emelianenko is worth who knows how much, Ortiz may demand $2 million or more to face Sobral, being that he’s a proven PPV draw.

As for Babalu, he really wants the Tito fight. Oh God does he want it. As he told Tatame, “I want Tito Ortiz. I’m going after that motherfucker, I’ll fuck him (laughs).” Man, those Brazilians — always with the fucking.

Related: Check out this new MMA Rated interview with Tito Ortiz, where Ortiz talks about his future prospects, trashes Dana White some more, discusses his loss to Lyoto Machida, and refers to himself in the third person like 50 goddamned times.