If there's anyone who knows a thing or three about mixed martial arts (MMA) rivalries, it's former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) light heavyweight champion, Tito Ortiz.
His past quarrels with Ken Shamrock and Chuck Liddell helped the Las Vegas, Nevada-based promotion get on the map in the sports world as well as the pay-per-view (PPV) business early on; as his battles with both men generated tons of views (and cash) for the company.
In fact, his second fight against "The Iceman" at UFC 66 on December 30, 2006, was the highest-grossing PPV event for quite some time, thanks to its 1,050,000 buys. That was before Brock Lesnar stepped inside the Octagon and shattered all records.
So if there's anyone who can properly break down the recent brawl (video) and rivalry between Jon Jones and Daniel Cormier, it's Ortiz, and that's just what he did as a guest panelist on ESPN's "The Weigh-In."
Check it out:
"It looked real to me. A fight is a fight. If you want to get in someone's head, that's the best way to do it. Cormier stood his ground. I would have done the same thing, both ways, as Jones or Cormier. What we do is real. It's real competition and we're fighting for our lives, pretty much. We're trying to hurt each other. You get two alpha males that want to be the best in the world and there you go. I was really surprised it happened, though. This usually doesn't happen."
Though UFC described the melee as "not a proud moment" for the company, that hasn't stopped the promotion from replaying it any chance it gets on shows like "UFC Tonight." And when doing the media rounds to promote their upcoming title fight at UFC 178 on Sept. 27, 2014 in Las Vegas, Nevada, "Bones" and "DC" can't avoid reliving the situation.
In fact, the little squabble even earned Jones an invite on "Jimmy Kimmel Live" (see it) to further discuss the brawl and to promote his upcoming title defense against the Olympian.
What that boils down to is more PPV buys for UFC 178, which according to Tito, will now hit the one million mark.
"At the end of the day, I think it's good for the sport. That's just me. This goes back to Lennox Lewis and Mike Tyson. This goes back to me and Ken Shamrock. Me and Chuck Liddell. People tune in for this because they want to watch it. Everybody has an opinion. Why did Jones react like that? Is he afraid and overcompensated for it? This probably adds about 500,000 pay-per-view buys. The fight without this would have sold maybe 500,000. It will hit the one million mark now."
The recent clip of a raw and unedited conversation (video here) between the two during a break from their ESPN interview proves once and for all their disdain for one another is "As Real As It Gets," and will likely help it garner a few extra buys.
While the consensus is that the Jones vs. Cormier debacle was a black eye for MMA, it's undeniable that all of the attention that it has brought to the upcoming event will only mean more cash in ZUFFA's pockets, as well as the pockets of its two headliners.