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Tito Ortiz: I’m at 40% right now after surgery but when I heal I will train at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado
By Zach Arnold | June 1, 2010
The training facility he’s alluding to is in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
I would encourage you to read the transcribed quotes (full-page mode) to get a sense at just how much punishment, pardon the pun, Tito has put his body through and he’s only 35 years old. The way he’s talking about the surgeries he had is scary. You get a sense during the interview that he knows he’s in for some trouble as he gets older but that he’s got that determination to keep pushing through no matter what the cost is. I hope he doesn’t end up like Kurt Angle…
“I want to thank all of fans for supporting me. Thanks for the fans for supporting me and all the haters, you guys can suck it.”
And on that note, let’s get to some of the quotes.
How are you feeling now that the news about your neck injury and surgery was finally revealed on television?
“You know, I’m just thankful for the surgery to go by. You know it’s hard to not tell my fans the truth but you know I had to stick to my contract and I did. And… you know getting the surgery done was a little scary, but once I got it done no more numbness in my hands, no more headaches. I wake up with no more pain, which I’m very thankful. I’m thankful for my doctor, Dr. William Smith, and his assistant Valerie for doing what they do for me and helping me as much as they have.”
How has the fan reaction been to the news?
“You know, a lot of fans have been supporting me 100%, you know. Of course you got the haters but those are the people who are always looking for something to put me down and it’s fine, and they’ll always be there. But I think the people that I really got to respect and thank are the fans who supported me. To say that I want to see you back, you know we understand what’s going on and now that the truth is out, you know what, all I can do now is just recover. Like I said, it’s nice to have no more pain, no more numbness, and it’s kind of scary, you know at the age of only 35 and I had the pain that I had you know, now that it’s over with I’m thankful, very thankful.”
Does criticize still motivate you like it did in the past?
“You know, I think it’s a big difference. You know the haters used to be a big motivation for me but not any more. And now it’s the fans who support me, the fans who are behind me when I’m on the bottom because when I’m top they’ll be with me again.”
How is your health right now?
“Good, really good. You know like I say, I’m about 40% you know with my neck just because of it’s only six weeks after surgery. You know you guys can see the scar that I got out of it and a year or so it’ll be gone, hopefully, but in the next two months I’ll be back into training. Yesterday, actually my doctor gave me the go ahead to start doing weight-training, boxing, so… you know, slow steps, but getting back to where I’m healthy and no more pain and able to fight at my full potential and that’s what I want to do, you know. I’m just sick of fighting with injuries and now that they’re gone and you know now it’s time to get back in the saddle and try to get my world title back.”
Mentally, do you feel that you are having to go back to step one in the recovery process?
“You know, I think when I had my lower back surgery I had two level fusion and people didn’t think that I was going to come back and I came back, you know, maybe a little too early I might have came back but I came back and I no longer have any lower back problems. I had the problem when I got bounced on my head during training for the Forrest fight on my neck. My spinal cord [was] being pressed on by my disc and I had bone spurs pressing on my spinal cord and that’s why I was getting numbness, that’s why I was getting headaches and my doctor went in. The surgery would have took about an hour and half he said but it actually took three and a half hours just because there was a little bit of extensive work that he had to do. But he said it cleaned up well and I should be back in the game and back for my world title again.”
How will you stay fresh to keep up with the young guns in the sport?
“You know I think rehab’s the biggest thing. Getting back to my full strength, you know I’m about 205 right now and this is the lightest I’ve ever been, you know, after any fights or I got as low as 199 but I may get back to about 225. My normal walk-around weight, you know, 220-225. But bringing in young guys, you know wrestlers, possibly going to the Olympic Training Center in Colorado to train with some of the wrestlers. I need to get back to my roots and that’s wrestling and that’s what it comes down to. When you have no injuries you’re able to do those things and that’s what I’m going to do.”