Former UFC light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz will step inside the cage one last time this weekend at Bellator 170 at The Forum in Inglewood, California when he fights former UFC middleweight fighter and title contender Chael Sonnen.
During an appearance on ESPN’s 5ive Rounds podcast, the former UFC champion admitted he has already felt some scary physical effects from fighting as a pro that began in 1997 at UFC 13. According to Ortiz, he has had over 25 concussions as well as over eight surgeries during his MMA career. He noted that he doesn’t want any type of brain damage, which is expected to happen to a pro fighter.
“I’ve had over 25 concussions, over eight surgeries,” Ortiz said. “Sparring is probably the hardest thing in training — getting punched in the face, concussions. I don’t want any type of brain damage.
Ortiz pointed out that after he had watched the Will Smith movie ‘Concussion,’ it got him thinking about what he is doing and it’s has scared him.
“I don’t know if you guys got the opportunity to watch the ‘Concussion’ movie with Will Smith. That’s scary. It’s a scary feeling. Over this last year, I got a few small symptoms like that — forgetful, takes me a second to think about some ideas. I don’t want that to happen [longterm]. I want to make sure I walk away at the right time. Now is a good time.”
Ortiz has brought up Sonnen’s doping history several times during the build up to this fight. He noted that Sonnen has a tendency to look for a shortcut that will show itself again on Saturday.
“I’ve known many guys who trained with him and he takes breaks, he’s not able to push himself in the red zone,” Ortiz said. “During the fight, I’m going to put him in the red zone. I’m gonna push his mind, body and heart. Over the past 14 weeks, I’ve been doing the same to myself. I would either pass out, throw up or die [in camp]. I threw up probably 30 to 40 times during this camp, I never passed out and I’m still talking to you right now, so the third one never happened.”