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By: Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief
Tito Ortiz is winding down the final days of his MMA career this week, and as he enters his final career fight against Forrest Griffin on Saturday night at UFC 148, he's feeling wholly content with the career he's leaving behind.
"I'm settled in it," Ortiz said of his impending retirement in an interview with MMAWeekly.com. "Training's not as fun as it used to be. The training is tough. Tough on my body, tough on my mind and I've been doing it for 15 years. I've been doing this over and over and over again and I miss a normal life. Where I put my time in, 15 years, almost two decades and I put my time in. I did everything I wanted to do in the UFC and mixed martial arts, and I think I made a difference."
Ortiz is most looking forward to turning his attention towards fatherhood and spending more time with his children, and he's thankful for the opportunities he's been given that allows him to walk away in a comfortable spot.
"Being a father to my children is something I've always wanted, to be there for them," Ortiz said. "I always wanted to make sure I had their futures taken care of. Now their future's taken care of, they can pick whichever college they want to go to, now it's time to be a loving father and be there for them and do what my father never did."
"Now that I don't have to be in training camp three months at time, three times a year, it's a blessing in disguise. I'm very thankful of what I was able to compete in the UFC and what Dana (White) and Lorenzo (Fertitta) have given me and I was able to be a father than my father never was."
While he's walking away from in-cage competition, this won't be the last you'll see of Ortiz, he assures. Indeed, he sees this retirement as the end of one chapter, and the beginning of another.
"Of course I'll always have something to do with mixed martial arts, I'll always thank that for getting me to where I am today," Ortiz said. "It's not that I'm retiring, I'm graduating. I'm graduating with a Masters in promotion and a Masters in marketing. That's what it comes down to pretty much, with everything I've done over the last 15 years."
"I'm 37 years old and I've still got a bright future, I'm going to do some big things."
Penick's Analysis: Ortiz hasn't always made himself the most endearing person or character, but he's put in tons of years in the sport and has gotten himself to the point where he can walk away with one final payday. Whether he wins or loses at this point is irrelevant, and for him the important thing is that he's walking away on his own, with a chance to be there for his kids. That's an immensely important part of life that his career will have allowed to come to pass, and he's in great spirits this week because of it.
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Jamie Penick, editor-in-chief
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