Photo by Donald Miralle/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images
I know because I'm one of them.
Really, who could have seen this coming? Certainly not the oddsmakers, who pegged Bader as a 5-to-1 favorite to win the fight. They had good reason.
Ortiz entered the cage having not won a fight in nearly five full years. He's 36-years-old with rapidly diminishing skills and he was going head on against a top wrestler with big power who was eager to rebound impressively from his first career loss and add a legend to his resume.
It didn't matter.
Sometimes the resolve to win, to never give up and push forward, no matter the adversity, is enough to carry you through.
That's what Tito Ortiz used to defeat the number seven ranked light heavyweight in the world last night. But he did much more than resurrect his career. He provided a lasting memory for myself and my family.
And some much needed medicine for my brother.
Allow me to explain:
I was on the fence as to whether or not I should post an entry such as this, simply because it's so personal. I also didn't want to exploit a family situation for page hits. But after speaking with my next of kin, he thought it would be cool to see his name in print (hey Bill!) and it's a small story worth telling.
Just weeks ago, my brother, Bill Mrosko, was diagnosed with testicular cancer. It was devastating for him, facing certain surgery and an uncertain future with a family to provide for.
It was also difficult for our family as a whole, as all seven of us worried ourselves sick over the fate of our beloved brother and son.
His surgery was scheduled for just this past Monday. I'm happy to report that it went as well as it possibly could, all things considered.
However, there were still tests to wait for to see if additional treatment would be necessary. Not only was my brother foggy and facing a not-so-easy recovery with staples just under his stomach line and pain like I don't want to imagine, he was also on pins and needles sweating out the results of a battery of tests to see if he's in the clear.
This is where Tito Ortiz comes in.
Bill is a massive fan of "The Huntington Beach Bad Boy." While Ortiz was on his near five year run of futility, Bill never wavered in his support for his hero.
He traveled far and wide to meet him and get his autograph, threw his support behind him on Facebook and Twitter and rocked as much Punishment gear he could afford to get his hands on.
In the wake of his surgery and recovery time, my family and I organized a get together at his house to watch UFC 132. This alone served to cheer him up while he was laid up, barely able to move from the staples constricting him to his couch.
My two other brothers and one sister all showed up and made an agreement beforehand that we would put whatever differences we may have had to the side and lose all allegiances to any particular fighter.
For one night, we all became fans of Tito Ortiz.
Again, this made Bill joyous. He's always been a family man, one who deeply feels and lives for the bond created from growing up together and traveling through the muck with one another.
More friends of the family showed up to his house to show their collective support and we had ourselves a party, celebrating my brother's successful surgery and doing what we could to make him feel better in his time of recovery.
The nerves were still there, with plenty of potential difficulties still lying ahead. And there were also nerves for the pending fight between Ortiz and Bader.
As Tito made his entrance, everyone in the room got to their feet in anticipation of what was next.
No one could have possibly imagined what was to come.
The two Octagon warriors circled each other, patiently awaiting their opportunity to strike. We did the same at home, on our toes and hoping Ortiz would come through with the performance of a lifetime.
Did he ever.
At about 3:25 of the first round, a "Tito!" chant broke out at the MGM Grand Garden Arena. At the same moment, I could faintly hear my brother say, "come on, Tito."
Just five short seconds later, Ortiz waded in and landed a big right hand that dropped Bader. We later learned, from "Darth" himself, this punch put him out enough that he doesn't remember what happened directly after it. By the time he woke up, he was already in the guillotine.
The reaction at home was deafening. Just like color commentator Joe Rogan, the entire house, at precisely the same moment, shouted "OOOOOHHHH!! OH MY GOD!"
A mere seconds later, as Ortiz was swarming Bader and looking for his opening to finish the fight, he locked on a guillotine choke. In the process he wrapped his legs around his foe in full guard and squeezed as tight as he could.
Our house is shaking, the floor beneath us rumbling in anticipation of a tap and a victory for Ortiz.
The camera shows Tito's face, a picture of steely resolve (as shown in the above photo). There was absolutely no way in hell he was letting go of that choke until Bader tapped or went to sleep.
This was the same steely resolve my brother had facing his cancer and the surgery that came with it. There was absolutely no way in hell he was going to let it win. He would fight with everything he had until he came through okay. Not just for himself but for his family.
Ortiz has the choke locked in and it feels so close everyone can taste it. It's coming. It has to be. It's too tight for Bader to slip his head out. Ortiz is too strong to let him get free.
And then it happened.
Bader rapidly tapped Tito's shoulder and Ortiz was victorious once again.
Words cannot adequately describe the ensuing reaction at home. The entire house erupted in cheer, all of us at the same time screaming, "YEAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!" Everyone reaching for the nearest person to hug and share in the joy of the moment.
I sought out Bill, gave him a big hug and took in his happiness. I will never, for the remainder of time I am on this rock we call Earth, forget the smile on his face.
It was a moment none of us will forget. Because Tito Ortiz brought us all together as a family to further the fight to not only survive as humans but thrive as one.
He made us all forget that just days previous, our brother was staring death in the face. Ortiz didn't cure Bill of his cancer. He just provided the best medicine money cannot buy.
If only for one night, Bill felt no pain from his staples, didn't worry at all about the uncertain future that lay ahead and simply basked in the glow of his fighter, one he has supported through thick and thin for all these years, finally getting his hand raised once again.
An emotional Ortiz later thanked all the fans who showed so much support through social mediums like Twitter. Bill was one of those people. He made sure, when he could, to tell Tito he was still "The Huntington Beach Bad Boy" and despite all the haters, if he tried hard enough, he could do what he used to be so great at doing.
He could win.
Ortiz said this very support was a big part of what made his victory possible and what kept his head up through all the tough times he's endured these past few years.
But he probably doesn't know that there is a 28-year-old man in Illinois, still recovering from surgery, that he helped push through and made feel better in ways nothing else could.
Yes, he most certainly did.
I'm also happy to say that, as of yet, each test taken has been passed with flying colors. Bill isn't out of the woods just yet, but he's won each battle so far and he's still resolved to win the war.
As I packed up my belongings to head home to prepare to cover all the results and fallout from UFC 132, I made the rounds and said my goodbyes to everyone in attendance at the party.
In many ways, it was difficult to wrap up one of the most memorable nights for my family that I can remember.
After bidding everyone farewell, as I was headed to the door to walk out, Bill shouted to me.
"Yeah," I said.
So did you, brother. So did you.