LAS VEGAS -- In a battle pitting former light heavyweight champions against one another three years after their first encounter, Forrest Griffin bested Tito Ortiz by split decision at UFC 106 to even the series at one apiece.
An emotional Ortiz spoke at the post-fight news conference, where he continually relayed his belief that he had won the closely-contested duel.
While Griffin was getting a wound stitched that Ortiz opened on his face in the second round, the “Huntington Beach Bad Boy” -- nearly breaking down at one point -- discussed his disappointment with the loss and how he felt he had let his fans down.
“That’s what you call ring rust and being tired,” said Ortiz. “I was tired, the wind was sucked out of me … I gave it my all man, I thought I won.”
Ortiz said a back injury slowed him down during training, but blamed his long layoff more for the fatigue that plagued him early in the fight.
Griffin joined the press conference after getting patched up, and quickly brought Dana White into the debate by asking the UFC president who he thought had won.
The promoter demurred, saying he “is not a judge.”
Griffin chastised him for his “weak answer” before affirming his belief that he was rightfully awarded the victory.
Ortiz, returning from an 18-month absence due to back surgery and a contractual dispute with the UFC, was quick to reassert his opinion that he should have gotten the nod.
In an entertaining back-and-forth exchange, the two fighters pleaded their case to the court of public opinion.
“I thought I won the fight,” declared Ortiz. “As Forrest said, ‘Who won the fight?’ Well, he answered his own question. He said, ‘I was on my back the whole time.’”
“I still thought I won,” retorted Griffin from the other side of the dais. “I just thought I might have fu---d up.”
“I thought he [messed up] too,” shot back Ortiz. “I was like, ‘sh-t’” and he looked at me and said, ‘Tito did I do enough?’ and I go, ‘I don’t think so. I think I won.’”
Ortiz then commented that perhaps Griffin was robbed in the first fight from 2006 at UFC 59, and now this was his turn to get pinched.
Griffin did not agree. He stated that he went back and watched their first fight again and though he thought he had won when he left the cage, he discovered while watching the fight again he had been mistaken.
“At the time, I thought I had won,” recalled Griffin. “But then, when I watched it on film, I was like, ‘Oh, I didn’t win.’”
“Well, then you go home and watch this one too and you can say the same thing,” said Ortiz.
Griffin was the first to state that he would like to fight a rubber match with Ortiz, and White was asked about the possibility of the two taking on the coaching positions for the 11th season of “The Ultimate Fighter,” which is set to go into production early next year.
White stated that, while a third fight was warranted, he was not sure about the reality show.
“Dude, the second fight just happened,” said White. “We’ll see what happens.”