There is not a single soul in the MMA universe that does not know the face, the voice, and the trajectory of one Tito Ortiz. “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” as we all know him, one of the most charismatic and polarizing figures in the history of the sport and the UFC.
Probably the guy who taught—or pushed—Dana White to be as loud, sometimes brash, and opinionated as he is, Tito Ortiz is the stick to were they tie all the self-promoting, fight-hyping, crap-starting, self-glorified geniuses of smack-talking in MMA.
The very first really successful UFC Light Heavyweight champion, Ortiz still holds the record for the most title defenses in the division with five straight wins. A master of the early-days ground-and-pound, Ortiz won eight of his first 14 wins inside the Octagon by way of KO or TKO and two submissions.
Even after losses to Frank Shamrock, Randy Couture, and Chuck Liddell, Ortiz was still a force inside the UFC and of course, a major draw with the fans.
But something happened, some would say that the second loss to the hands of Chuck Liddell put the cap on Ortiz’s career, but the truth of the matter is, Tito Ortiz became a casualty of both injuries and the evolution of a sport that has taken the world by storm.
In a sport where most of the top fifteen fighters in any division are equally dangerous in of the areas of the game, it is not enough to be a good wrestler and a very good ground-and-pounder—you need solid all-around skills to compete, especially with kids that grew into the MMA era.
The closes Ortiz has been to at least not losing a fight was exactly four years minus five days ago, when he faced another fellow trash-talking artist, “Suga” Rashad Evans, the fight ending in a draw.
Without a win since December 2006, and with a slew of controversy and back-and-forths between him and the trigger-happy president of the UFC, a lot of people simply can’t understand how Ortiz is still in the UFC roster.
For people who understand how business operate it is a simple matter of numbers—Ortiz still draws a crowd, still draws ratings to a TV show.
That my friends, is a valid reason for the UFC to keep him around regardless of his disastrous record in the last five years, but is this the end of Tito’s Career?
UFC 132 brings us Tito Ortiz vs. Ryan Bader and to some—especially for the UFC brass—a loss here seals the end of Tito’s career inside the Octagon. Then again, it’s not the first time we’ve heard that.
Will Tito bounce from a five year losing streak and regain momentum? Will Bader’s power prove to be too much? Will he be able to stop Ortiz?
My prediction is, we can wave a hand to a man who gave us immensely exciting moments in MMA. I say Bader beats Tito tonight and with that, another star from the UFC early days bows to the crowd and says “goodbye.”
I surely wouldn’t mind if I have to eat these words, but chances are, I won’t.
Thanks for reading.
Originally posted at The MMA Truth.