Tito Ortiz/Rampage Jackson Conference Call Coverage
Aug 5, 2013 - by Michael Riba
Anthony Mazucca begins the call and introduces Tito Ortiz and Rampage Jackson. He turns the call over to Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney. He says
Tito says he is really excited to be a part of Bellator, and received an offer that he couldn’t refuse. He says he owes everything he has to MMA. He says he now has a boss that he doesn’t have to fight with and has a company that has his back, and he loves it. He says he wants to be great again, and to do that he has to fight the greats like Rampage Jackson.
Rampage says he is happy to be in Bellator. He says he didn’t think Tito would be his first opponent, but Bellator helped his dreams come true. He says he wants to show the fans that he is serious about this comeback, and it’s tough with some of the injuries that he has had. He says he’s not making excuses and is keeping it real. Rampage says it’s not right for the never-will-be’s to call he and Tito has-beens. He says both he and Tito are showmen, and they plan to put on a show for the fans. He says MMA has been boring for a long time now, and he wants to light it up.
“What type of promotion to you think the fight will get?”
Anthony Mazucca: “Big. The opportunity for our first pay-per-view will be broadcast on cross-platforms. You’ll be able to see what we’ve done with Dixie and TNA and Spike with the promotion for this fight. The CBS relationship is one that is more distant that it was at one point, and we’re closer with MTV, MTV2, Comedy Central.”
“Can you guys comment on your training?”
TO: “Carnage Training Studio for six weeks.”
RJ: “My own training facility, and then in Mexico. I like Mexico.”
“Tito, How long did it take you to decide on fighting again?”
TO: “When the handcuffs came off on July 7th. I’ve been thinking about it for a long time. Bjorn called me on July 7th, and it was finalized in a week, and it was decided that I would fight my friend Rampage.”
RJ: “We’re always friends, but on November 2nd we won’t be friends. I didn’t know what he was talking about when he told me that I was fighting Tito.”
“Are there any other parts of Tito’s deal?”
AM: “Yeah, there will be other parts. There are other pieces that will begin to unfold.
“Are there price points for the fight?”
AM: “It depends on the server and where they are in the country. Some will be 35, some 40, so may even be 45. There are different markets that are more into MMA than others. It’s up to the distributors. I don’t think we will exceed 50 dollars.”
“Is there added pressure on you guys for your first Bellator fight?”
TO: “I used to fighting on pay-per-view. I’m gonna fight with heart and determination and I’m going to swing for the fences. I like having a boss and a company that has my back and not one that yells at me and talks shit all the time.”
Dave M: “Tito, how much did Fight Master influence your decision? What about some of the people who are still with Spike? How much of this has to do with money?”
TO: “There were so many factors. That had a little bit to do with it. I love to coach. I went to college to be a high school teacher and a wrestling coach. Business is my forte and I understand it.
Yeah, they always treat us right at Spike. I loved the guys on Spike during the Ultimate Fighter, and I expect the same for Bellator.
How do you feed your children? I was smart enough to save my money. I have a lot of land. I’m smart with my money. This is about making a company and doing something great in this sport.”
Karen B: “Rampage, how close to reality was the fight with Roy Jones? There’s nobody else you would consider? Was there any consideration in having a professional wrestling match?”
RJ: “I think Tito messed up that fight. I was preparing for Jones, and when Tito signed, the fight went away. I think it will come around eventually after Tito and I fight. Jones is very interested in fighting me. It just came down to Roy, and I just wanted to box. I’ve done K-1, MMA, and boxing was the other thing I haven’t done. I was thinking about retiring before Bellator came around. Tito came around and fucked all that up.”
TO: “I didn’t mean to. I want to fight the best. I don’t want ‘gimmie’ fights. I always come out and put on a show. My job is to fight, and I love it. November 2nd is going to business. I’m putting my poker face on and Rampage better shuffle the cards.”
RJ: “I would consider forming a tag team with Tito down the line.”
“How has the TNA locker room accepted you guys?”
RJ: “The guys have been great. I’ve been asking them for advice.”
TO: “The same for me. Those guys are tough. Jeff Hardy was one of the guys that kept me in the UFC. I’ve loved professional wrestling since the beginning. I would love to make that crossover, but that’s gonna take some practice.”
RJ: “I hate when people call wrestling fake and then love action movies. Wrestlers do their own stunts.”
“Bjorn, are you kind of disappointed that people aren’t talking about other dominant performances in Bellator?”
BR: “You know, I’m not. Michael Chandler is the best light-heavyweight in the world. These two would be on the Mount Rushmore of the MMA world. We have these two guys headlining a pay-per-view. You’ll get to see Chandler on that same pay-per-view. It’s very exciting. It’s all a part of a bigger machine.”
Ron C: “Why did you decide now was the right time for Bellator to have their first pay-per-view event? Could we see other names coming out of retirement, like Couture or Shamrock?”
BR: “There were a lot of stars that needed to align. The first season had to get the ratings. It was a timing element and all of the stars came together for November 2nd. It’s Rampage vs. Tito for the main event of our first pay-per-view. It’s the right time to do it.
You might. I’m still shocked that talks with Tito didn’t break. We’ve got a lot in the works, we’ve got a lot of stuff going on. There are a lot of pieces to this puzzle that haven’t been revealed yet.”
Eddie G: “You both seem very relaxed during this press conference.”
TO: “Our careers speak for themselves. If we lose, the boss won’t talk smack on us the whole time. It’s just another fight; one guy will win, one will lose. We are there to put on a show. Embracing the fighters is what this is truly about.”
RJ: “I agree with what Tito said. It’s not secret that we both feel we were treated wrongly in the past. I came from fighting in Japan, where it was all about putting on a show. Tito and I fight to put on a show.”
“Is having this fight headline a pay-per-view a weak positioning of Bellator, or a statement where Bellator is at?”
BR: “This is definitely an enhancement for Bellator. We’re not sitting around and waiting for a fighter to lose two straight fights. Guys have to earn there spot. It doesn’t mean we can’t do a special fight like this.”
Dave Meltzer: “How is the lineup for the show looking? How long will Tito and Rampage appear on Impact Wrestling? Will they be appearing on TNA’s biggest show in October?”
BR: “You will see a number of title bouts underneath Tito and Rampage. You will either see a two-hour or one-hour pre-show on Spike. There will be a lot of title fights on the show. We’re have some incredible fights for everyone to see.
Dixie and I get on the phone with Kevin and we strategize how we want to do it. We’ve gotta bring more fans into the sport. You have to wait and see where the story takes them. We have it all planned out.”
“Tito, do you feel you were coerced in retirement by the UFC? Have you decided how many fights you want to have?”
TO” You can only poke the pitbull so much. It feels nice to have a company and a boss that have my back and I’m going to put on a show. This is for my kids. I want to provide for them, and the only way to do that is to fight.
I’m not the only one running my company and we have a great team behind us.”
Matt E: “Can you take me behind the scenes to a situation where you signed Tito?”
BR: “I signed him with every intention of getting a fight between he and Rampage signed.”
Jason F: “Will this be a light-heavyweight bout? Tito, why was this offer so tempting?”
BR: “Yes, 205. Lightheavyweight bout.”
TO: “I’m sitting right here and I’m fighting one of my best friends. That’s about as far as I will go into it.
Andrew closes the show with a reminder about the Bellator pay-per-view, which is on November 2nd.