Tito Ortiz was supposed to fight Quinton Jackson in the main event of Bellator's pay-per-view (PPV) debut. Unfortunately, he was forced to pull out of the bout because of a neck injury and the decision was made to broadcast the card on Spike TV later this evening (Nov. 2, 2013).
It was initially described as the type of injury that could prove to not just be career threatening, but life threatening, if it was aggravated in the bout with Jackson. Ortiz would very much be putting his future on the line had he have remained Jackson's opponent for Bellator 106.
Bellator decided to move on, booking Jackson against Joey Beltran as the main event for Bellator 108 at the Revel in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Life in general moved on, with most quickly giving up on concept that Ortiz would ever fight again.
Apparently, Ortiz never got the memo.
This week, Ortiz tweeted out to his followers that he's planning on making a return to fighting. And it's sooner than you'd think:
"Ppl I will have 100% recovery & will be back n the gym in 6 weeks.I'm a fighter & I love competition. I was doing great n training but accident do happen. Just time to reshuffle the deck & deal another hand. #positiveminded"
While I respect Ortiz's optimism, he's gotta stop. Stop talking about fighting. Stop talking about making (another) comeback. Stop calling it an accident. Just stop.
And understand, I say all of this not out of malice but out of respect. A respect for what he once was, not the man he's trying to be. And I recognize that there very much is a difference between the two.
Please don't misread these comments, I'm an Ortiz fan.
But what he's doing now just reeks of desperation. He's a literal broken man who is just trying to cling onto past accomplishments for dear life. Maybe it's that he's never been anything but a fighter, but he just can't give up on the idea of being in the spotlight.
Call it the "Ric Flair Effect" where a star is unable to accept the fact that they are over the hill. Flair is still fielding bookings at the ripe age of 64, a shell of the man he used to be. The spotlight long since faded to darkness.
And that's what's happened to Ortiz. Once the face of Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), he's now taking bookings for the unanimously recognized second-tier promotion. And the tickets for his first bout outside of UFC weren't exactly moving at the box office. He was very much making a strong case that he's a product of UFC and its promotional machine.
So Tito, for your sake. For my sake. For the sport's sake. Just stop. Stop talking about making one last great return to form. Stop talking about just making a return. Accept the fact that you're no longer the fighter you once were, but also take pride in the fact that you're one of the greats.
It's okay to walk away. It's okay to start a new career. Just whatever you do, don't come back to MMA.