Bad Blood: Tito Ortiz and Chuck Liddell (Review)

I just got around to watching UFC: Bad Blood. The documentary looks into the fiery relationship between Tito Ortiz, Chuck Liddell, and also Dana White. White has a pretty big role in the film, documenting his relationship with both men as a manager, friend, and boss. UFC: Bad Blood is entertaining, but comes off a bit biased. Anyone who thinks Dana White doesn't hold a grudge against Tito would think differently after watching. It's not a smear-job like the WWE did with The Self-Destruction of the Ultimate Warrior, but let's just say the UFC didn't care to put Tito in a good light. In this film, Liddel is the hero and Ortiz the villain. I wish they hadn't gone that route because it oversimplifies Tito as a person, when in fact, he has the best moments of the film.

(Very little spoilers after the jump.)

First off, the movie was well done. They have highlights from both men's first fights in the Octagon, film from their subsequential rise to stardom, and pictures from when both fighters used to train together. It's interesting, entertaining, and never drags. Besides their UFC careers, the film goes into the childhood and teenage years of both men.

In my opinion, the best part of the film was learning about Ortiz's childhood and how it influenced him to be successful. Ortiz takes the film crew back to the street he saw his friend get shot dead on when he was in a gang. He opens up about his parents being heroin addicts. It's pretty touching to watch Ortiz get emotional when talking about such traumatic events. Rather than analyzing Ortiz's octagon behavior in the context of a person with a severely troubled childhood (drug-addicted parents, gangs, and poverty), the film portrays Ortiz as an irrational, selfish, self-promoting asshole.

The footage of Liddell comes off a bit boring. The worst part of the film is some of Chuck's interview. For some reason, the producers thought it was okay to get Chuck being interviewed while his chriopractor was working on him. It's pretty awkward. Liddell also mumbles through most of it. I kept wondering why they couldn't interview Liddell at a bar, in the gym, or even on a sound stage. Instead, we get him for a few minutes while he has his back adjusted, while he's getting a hair cut, and while he's sitting on his sink. The scenes aren't horrible, but they reveal nothing about Chuck Liddell the person. Besides an extreme love for fighting, what drives The Iceman?

They do it right with Tito though. Tito's footage out of the octagon is of him fishing. They interview him on his fishing boat with childhood friends and have him explain how fishing (and fighting) was an escape from his heroin-addicted parents. Later on in his adult years, Ortiz uses fishing to escape from fighting.

Dana White is very honest. So honest, it might be unprofessional to talk about a current employee the way he does Ortiz. But, it's a documentary. It would have been boring if White sugarcoated everything. I didn't mind his ruthless attitude toward Tito, but it comes off as spin. Dana White places all the blame on Tito. Now maybe the falling out of fights was Ortiz's fault, but they accuse him of not playing ball, being selfish, and demanding exorbitant amounts of money. I'm not a huge fan of Tito, but I kind of felt bad about the way he was being portrayed. You mean to tell me Tito's a pussy and a selfish asshole because he wanted to fight Chuck Liddell for huge amounts of money? Tito explains his actions as, "We're the two biggest superstars in the UFC ever. Why should we fight for peanuts?" Dana White claims Tito was being unrealistic about the money he was asking for.

How much did Tito ask for? We never find out. It's a missing piece of the puzzle that should be in there.

Any UFC fan would enjoy the documentary. I did. Besides the location of Liddell's interviews, the only thing I disliked is that the film doesn't want the viewer to make up his/her own mind about the situation. Liddell = hero, Ortiz = villain. This might make for good story, but it simplifies. It's much more interesting than that.

***(I'm trying to join the SB Nation writing staff. Please feel free to include comments, suggestions, and criticisms. Thanks!)

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