Is Tito Ortiz making a good Case?
I hate to admit it, but Tito Ortiz has me re-thinking my position on his relevance to the sport and the LHW class in the UFC. How is this possible? The Huntington Beach Bad Boy made a strong case, complete with full sentences, no profanity, and wait for it….honest sincerity. Holy sh1t, right?
Here is part of his argument, from the Telegraph UK followed by the authors take.
“I’ve just turned 36, but when they put me against the top guys, I think I can still compete. Too bad people don’t pay attention to the major details. I’ve competed against the top guys and gone on to win world championships. I’m not getting submitted or knocked out… I’m making little mistakes where I should be submitting guys. I thought I beat Forrest Griffin two [rounds] to one the second time. But it was what it was. I made some mistakes against Hamill. I didn’t respect his takedown.”
“In fairness to Ortiz, he may not have won a fight since 2006, but he fought to a draw against Rashad Evans who won the world title a couple of fights later, and in that contest, he had a point taken away harshly. There was no warning of a transgression for holding onto the cage, and he had a point taken away immediately. Otherwise, he would have won that contest. Many felt he beat Forrest Griffin in his second fight, and he almost tapped out Lyoto Machida – and Machida went on to win the championship.”
I’m willing to agree with Gareth’s assessment. I felt the point taken away was unfair in this context (I am a firm believer that Refs should be deducting a point immediately for holding the fence, or the shorts, not a warning: immediate point deduction. I’ve seen it change the tide in too many bouts) with no warning, and no precedent set. He has held his own: the Machida fight was a farce. Machida layed and prayed most of the fight. I distinctly remember Ortiz begging the ref to stand them up because clearly Machida was not trying to improve position or submit him. I hated siding with Ortiz, but he was right. Fast forward to his next few bouts: no mass destruction either. Is Ortiz in his prime? No. Is he capable of battling to a title shot? Probably not. Could he be relegated to gatekeeper status for lesser prospects? I say yes. Which brings us to his next battle. Ryan Bader or How to not get fired.
He recently made some big changes to his training regimen, namely, he quit publicly fighting with his
wife, GF, drama inducing estrogen manufacturing plant, baby mama aka Jenna Jameson (If I need to explain who she is you have some serious issues with your sexual/pop culture knowledge and maybe some sort of dysfunction). Removing the drama from his life alone might put him back into the W column. MIGHT. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not jumping on the Ortiz bandwagon. Yes, my stance on him as a personality and fighter has softened over the last several months. I no longer call for his banishment from MMA for life. I have respect for his accomplishments, business wise and fight wise. He single handily kept the UFC afloat for a few years (don’t believe me? check the numbers he was bringing in during the lean years, and then cross reference those with the yearly earnings report, followed by looking at the shows he wasn’t a part of. You will see I am correct, it pains me to admit the UFC needed him, and owes him a debt of gratitude, as do the fans. Those words actually induced pain in several parts of my body).
What has happened, is I am now rooting for Tito Ortiz to stay competitive. The downside is I have met and hung out with Ryan Bader: I like him as a person and fighter, which means I will be rooting for him (not that I feel he needs anything other than his presence in the Octagon to to defeat Ortiz). Thus Ortiz, who in my opinion deserves my support at this point in his career, will only get my hope that he puts up such an incredible battle, even in defeat he is considered a winner. Remember Forrest Griffin vs. Stephen Bonner I? That’s the kind of battle Ortiz needs to be in.
Good luck Tito: you’re gonna need it.