This week, former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) light heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz is heading into his final fight against Forrest Griffin at UFC 147 (July 7th) and into the UFC's Hall of Fame but the latter is somehow debated.
Ortiz, is one of the main reasons the UFC even made it to this point for his 'bad boy' attitude, his high-calibre wrestling and some of the sports most brutalizing ground and pound. When Frank Shamrock took his ball and left, Ortiz came back from a loss to him and ran with the promotion.
Going 15-9-1, defending the strap an astonishing five times and beating the likes of Wanderlei Silva, Forrest Griffin, Ken Shamrock, Vitor Belfort, Evan Tanner, Vladimir Matyushenko and Ryan Bader have seemed to earn him nothing but ridicule and jokes.
The jokes on you-Tito Ortiz is one of the best this sport has ever seen and I don't see many surpassing what he was able to do, he was simply ahead of his time.
Bad Boy for life.
He was the perfect heel.
He had the blond hair, the story of how superior 'Big Bear Mountain' was and his snickering little laugh was more than enough to drive the blue collared 'Iceman' fans nuts. He was everything you hated at high school, he was rich, popular, got the girls, had the build but underneath it all you knew you could turn him yellow.
Chuck did and Randy did this to him, Couture even spanked him.
The thing that makes me almost look in 'What The Fuck' is when i read miss guided ideas that Ortiz was ';garbage' or the product of a 'bad' era. Ortiz was simply above everyone at that time and he proved it five times in a row and even till this day is a threat (ask Ryan Bader).
People seem to think mixed martial arts (MMA) started in 1993 with the first UFC, did you see any MMA? or did you simply see two guys applying their skills or lack thereof skills?. Frank Shamrock changed the game when he was able to apply wrestling, submissions and striking. Shamrock, left his brother's 'Lions Den' and started training with UFC veteran and kickboxing stud, Maurice Smith. The two quickly exchanged their grappling and striking skills and soon built MMA.
At UFC 22, Ortiz was taught a lesson from Frank Shamrock and one he'd never forget. He was beat up for 4 rounds until finally he was stopped-it changed him. At UFC 25, Ortiz started to punish people who got in his way with wrestling and top control. He went on for six straight wins, Wanderlei Silva (UFC 25), Yuki Kondo (UFC 29), Evan Tanner (UFC 30), Elvis Sinosic (UFC 32), Vladimir Matyushenko (UFC 33) and Ken Shamrock (UFC 40). Between April 2000 and November 2002, Ortiz was 6-0, UFC light heavyweight champion and had four of those fights end in stoppages.
He was simply the very best of his era and just above the competition. Frank Shamrock was the same way, he was five straight wins, UFC champion and had five straight stoppages. He left citing the UFC had no one left for him to face that mattered-it was partially correct. Shamrock never fought Chuck Liddell, Randy Couture or Vitor Belfort during those times-he simply gave us teh finger and left.
Ortiz stayed in the very best organization and faced everyone (with some delays) but he took his beatings like a man even if he was pissed he lost. Ortiz-Shamrock and Ortiz-Liddell were game changers in terms of popularity growth for the UFC. Ortiz left no doubt that Ken Shamrock was passed his expiry date-three times and from Liddell/Ortiz 1 to Liddell/Ortiz 2, we saw Ortiz improve against Chuck, what if he faced Frank Shamrock again?.
The thing that worries me is that in ten years, people will look back on Jon Jones' improbable run as light heavyweight champion and dismiss his wins over Rashad Evans, Quinton Jackson, Lyoto Machidaand Maurico Rua as nothing to brag about and that be very stupid. Jones is simply an evolution of the game much like Ortiz was in his prime and this talk of 'eras' is dumb.
Was it Mike Tyson's fault he was born and fought in his prime as the heavyweight division was slowly weakening?, was Wayne Gretzky in an era of lower class goaltenders? and was Tom Brady/Peyton Manning nothing due to the changes the sport has on how much receivers get away with?
If you answered yes to any then you are a hater, these guys never cheated. They played their skill set against the very best and the rules of the day. Ortiz should be looked on as he is-a great heel, a dominant champion of the past and of the reasons the UFC is where it is today.
Bad Boy roll off into the sunset