PHILADELPHIA — Tito Ortiz hadn’t even walked out of the cage following his loss to Matt Hamill last October when his phone lit up with a text. On the other end of it was Ortiz’s longtime friend and sometime boxing coach Jason Parillo, who had watched the fight from inside the Honda Center in Anaheim, California, not understanding what his eyes were seeing.
Parillo had worked with Ortiz long enough to know something wasn’t quite right, and he wanted the chance to help correct it. So he shot off a text, and then he waited.
A return call would come in time, but the impetus for Ortiz to change his camp came not from the winless streak that stretched over years or from a text from a concerned friend. It came because of family. Not long earlier, Ortiz’s girlfriend Jenna Jameson gave birth to twin boys. He also has another son from a previous relationship. Ortiz, who detailed a rough upbringing in his 2008 autobiography This Is Gonna Hurt, thought about how quickly his kids were growing and felt a desire to spend more time with them.
Over the previous years, Ortiz had taken his fight camps to Big Bear, California, where he imported coaches and training partners. Parillo was never a part of that. The two would work together when Ortiz was at home, then part ways when he departed for camp. The situation suited both men, but it also turned into a source of frustration for Parillo, who says he often saw his work undone by the time Ortiz got back into the cage.<