Wednesday, 20 May 2009
TITO ORTIZ AND THE UFC HALL OF FAME
Love him, hate him or just “lol” at his increasingly exaggerated self image, Tito Ortiz has done a lot for MMA, and particularly for the UFC. It is easy to get bogged down in the long war of insults between him and Dana, but Tito has always maintained he has no problem with the UFC generally and the Fertitas specifically. Now that the time approaches for Chuck to receive his large octagonal piece of honorary glassware, with Matt Hughes no doubt to follow, I wonder whether Tito will ever get the nod? Hall of fame winners are not just about number of victories. They embody the rise of the UFC and stretches of time when they dominated the hearts of fans and ratings. It is easy when thinking of Tito to immediately think of him losing to Randy or Chuck. That period in the history of UFC was a great one. Aside from the emergence of TUF Tv show, fights were held that began to recapture the PPV audience. The fight triangle between Randy/Chuck, Randy/Tito, Chuck/Tito, Chuck/Randy, Randy/Chuck, Chuck/Tito (if I got that right) thrilled us for a few years straight, and put Chuck and Randy into the status they enjoy today. Up to the point of losing his light heavyweight title, Tito had enjoyed a three year winning streak, with five title defences. He was also chosen as coach of season three of TUF. He was a firm fan favourite and worked the limelight, taunting opponents with his mouth and T-shirt slogans, and making sure he spent time meeting and greeting the audience at shows. Tito is by no means finished now, simply awaiting his UFC no-fight contract stipulation to end, whilst seeking a (hopefully) realistic contract with another promotion. He still has an army of fans waiting for him to return to greatness. It could however, be argued that he has already peaked, and that brings me back to wondering if (bad blood aside) the big show itself will properly remember Tito Ortiz after he has gone.