Surely you know him (I do know him -- and don't call me Shirley). He's the once great champion that has fallen on hard times in recent years.
And by recent years, I mean the last half decade.
"The Huntington Beach Bad Boy" hasn't won a fight since Oct. 2006, compiling an impressively bad 0-4-1 record since that victory, an absolute mauling of Ken Shamrock.
His latest defeat, a unanimous decision loss to Matt Hamill, was enough to convince the powers that be that Ortiz was effectively over the hill. In fact, as he explains it, his head wasn't on the block, it was apparently already chopped off.
That is until he put in a call to the decision makers and "begged" for his job, pleading for another chance to prove he's still got some fight left in his 36-year-old bones.
Here was the case he made (via The Telegraph):
"Dana White and Joe Silva [the UFC's matchmaker] told me they wanted me to retire, but I knew I still had the fight inside me. I pretty much begged for my job, to show how much I want to fight, but I still have it in my heart to compete, to fight. I told them I want to still fight against the top guys, I want to put on a show. 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 2 to 1 the second time. But it was what it was. I made some mistakes against Hamill. I didn't respect his takedown. The UFC called me after that fight and said ‘we want you to retire.' I was shocked, I thought they were kidding around. I took it as they didn't want to pay me, to give me what I'm worth. I'm competing against the top guys and I'm not getting dominated. So, next month, I'll be fighting one of the top guys in the world again, ranked in the top 3, and I'm going to show how much I'm really worth."
Let's go ahead and give him the benefit of the doubt.
He kick started his run of futility with a brutal loss to Chuck Liddell in what was actually a light heavyweight title bout. He then fought to a draw with Rashad Evans in a fight he was on his way to winning before a mildly controversial point deduction.
He followed up those two bouts with decision losses to Lyoto Machida and Forrest Griffin.
That's four consecutive fights against fighters who have held the 205-pound strap at one time or another. Not exactly a run of cans, here.
The Hamill loss may have been the most damning, considering it held the student vs. teacher dynamic with Ortiz occupying the role of the latter. That said, he certainly didn't look washed up during the fight.
All things considered, it's no surprise the bosses decided to give the former king of the mountain one more go of it. But was it a big mistake to match him up against Ryan Bader?
Time will tell.