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That time Tito Ortiz met Chael Sonnen backstage at UFC 136, and how it (allegedly) led them to Bellator 170



LOS ANGELES – Bellator light heavyweight Tito Ortiz remembers the day he walked into Chael Sonnen’s dressing room after Sonnen’s submission of Brian Stann at UFC 136.

It was a pivotal moment in Sonnen’s career, the way Ortiz remembers the encounter. It was that conversation, Ortiz (29-14-1 MMA, 2-1 BMMA) said, that pushed Sonnen (18-12-1 MMA, 0-0 BMMA) to become a bigger headlining attraction – bigger than the one he became through his rivalry with Anderson Silva, the target of that famous post-fight speech at the pay-per-view event.

“I think I created him,” Ortiz told MMAjunkie. “Not created him 100 percent, but I think I had a little bit to do with it. After he fought Brian Stann, I went into his dressing room and told him, ‘Keep doing what you’re doing. What you’re doing is going to get you big, big fights.’”

Not only was it a pep talk, Ortiz adds, but a seed planted that led them to a fight at Bellator 170, which takes place Saturday at The Forum in Inglewood, Calif., and airs live on Spike.

“He didn’t really know about it, but the big fight I was talking about is this fight that’s going to happen Saturday,” Ortiz said. “I predetermined this stuff. I knew what was going to end up happening. I’m just thankful his body has been able to withstand that damage that he’s done over the last 12 years.”

So call Ortiz a psychic, if you believe his version of events. If you’re Sonnen, just call him a guy who paid a nice compliment.

“If he feels attached to it, then good for him,” Sonnen told MMAjunkie. “He went out of his way to show me a nice gesture, and I had a past with Tito. I would suggest if I was already doing it and he just said keep doing it, then perhaps it had been created. But it was a nice gesture.”

Among the many pre-fight barbs exchanged between the veterans in the buildup to the fight, there have been few such niceties exchanged. Ortiz is looking to end his career with a vicious beatdown of Sonnen, who’s returning from retirement to make a bid for the Bellator title.

Sonnen once pinned Ortiz on the wrestling mat, and Ortiz has held a grudge ever since. But it wasn’t until Sonnen came to Bellator as a marquee name that the fight was booked. And whether or not he was the one who really made it happen, they’ll settle a score.

To hear more from Ortiz, check out the video above.

And for more on Bellator 170, check out the MMA Rumors section of the site.

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