HOLLYWOOD–Today’s Bellator 170 press conference quickly turned into a Chael Sonnen (29-14-1) stand-up comedy routine, as “The Bad Guy” ribbed, insulted and needled away at a visibly irritated Tito Ortiz (18-12-1) with every opportunity that presented itself.
Sonnen, 39, fired the first salvo after being asked if he enjoyed the distractions of media obligations during fight week.
“I like distractions,” Sonnen began. “I don’t even know what Tito is doing here. I came her to fight Wanderlei Silva and he’s busy. I got a phone call that said ‘do you want to fight Tito on January 21st?’ My wife said we didn’t have anything going on, so I came out to California. I love having distractions. I don’t like days off. Tito is literally in the only profession I know of where you don’t need to wear a suit and he keeps showing up in one. It’s like a local funeral parlor closed and he went and took it off a corpse.”
“Class is something you need to learn,” Ortiz interrupted.
“Shows up looking like a maître d’ at Golden Corral,” said Sonnen, drawing laughs from the media in attendance at the new Viacom Headquarters in Hollywood. “I’m just happy that he got here. Somebody got him the Uber app or he thumbed a ride down here. I hope he gets to the Forum on Saturday night.”
Ortiz and Sonnen were asked to list what their opponent’s strengths are, and then that’s when Sonnen commandeered the press conference.
“Tito, go ahead. Tell them what I do so well,” Sonnen said, smiling.
“Well, he talks well,” said the 41-year-old Ortiz, who will be retiring after Bellator 170. “His mouth has gotten him every big fight that he’s had. And every time when it’s time to represent and perform he’s failed. On Saturday night it’s not going to change. What I do well: I come in with heart. I come with determination. I come in with hard work and perseverance. When I get my hand raised I will know why and so will all the millions of fans, who had my back the last 20 years.”
After hearing that response, Sonnen then proceeded to drop his biggest verbal hammer of the day.
“Tito always says I’m using my mouth to get my opportunities. The only person I know that made money using their mouth was his ex-wife,” said Sonnen in reference to former pornographic film actress Jenna Jameson.
“Just to correct you, that was never no marriage … You’re a fucking punk dude,” said Ortiz, who was getting angrier by the minute.
“That was a nasty line,” Sonnen said smiling.
“No class,” Ortiz fired back. “No class at all.”
“They don’t call you ‘The Bad Guy’ for nothing,” Said Sonnen.
To everyone thinking @ChaelSonnen 's remark at the press conference for his fight with Tito bothered me, it didn't… he stated the obvious
— Jenna Jameson (@jennajameson) January 19, 2017
The fun didn’t stop there, though. Ortiz went on a long-winded rant in reference to a Christopher Walken monologue from the movie “Poolhall Junkies,” and Sonnen pretended to be asleep and began snoring into the microphone.
“You hear that snoring noise?” Ortiz asked. “That’s the snoring nose you are going to hear in the second round of the fight when I’m dominating.”
Sonnen popped up and told Ortiz, “That was good. That was good work by you.”
— Michael Stets (@Michael_Stets) January 19, 2017
It was pretty clear that Sonnen won another round of verbal warfare on Thursday afternoon, which he has done throughout the entire lead-up to Saturday’s showdown at The Forum.
Getting Ortiz agitated is something Sonnen was expecting to happen, he says.
“As far as knowing if I would generate this reaction, of course I knew I would get this reaction,” Sonnen told MMA Plus. “I’m a puppet master. I’m a genius. That’s why I show up in a 20 dollar tee shirt and the other guy wears a dead guy’s suit. One of us has to work harder than the other one at it. The other is a natural.”
Ortiz says he’s been “fueled by anger” his whole career and he’s taken note of every insult and barb that Sonnen has thrown his way. And he thinks the former UFC title contender, who hasn’t competed in over three years, is in for a rude awakening come Saturday night.
“He’s said some personal things about me and he’s lit a fire under my ass like no other. I’ve been in camp for 14 weeks. This guy thinks he can compete against me after eight weeks of camp. I’m gonna hurt him. I’m not looking for a submission. I”m gonna dominate.”