One of the most polarizing figures in all of Mixed Martial-Arts is about to stir up some debate. The UFC announced that Tito Ortiz will be inducted into their Hall of Fame in July. Ortiz will be the ninth and possibly most controversial inductee of all fighters.
[adinserter block=”2″]Dana White broke the news on Tuesday. Ortiz will enter the UFC Hall of Fame prior to his UFC 148 fight on July 7 against Forrest Griffin. Ortiz has stated that this would be the last fight of his career. The honor will likely be the final chapter in the long story between Ortiz and White which has had plenty of ups and plenty of downs.
“He pound for pound was doing some of the most damage at a time when we were hurting,” said White. “But it’s part of our history the way the storylines played out between me, Chuck and Tito. He’s definitely a part of the history of the sport,” White told MMAWeekly.com.
Whether Ortiz is Hall of Fame worthy or not is a topic that will be debated for decades. Ortiz’s 15-year career as a fighter in the UFC is really a career that should be divided into three chapters. In the first chapter, Ortiz was an animal in the octagon. He helped pioneer a new style of fighting in the UFC and went on to win the UFC light heavyweight title and have one of the greatest fights of all time against Frank Shamrock.
The second chapter of his career saw Tito help put the UFC on the map as one of the most colorful personalities in UFC history. Ortiz used his charisma and promos to help usher in a new era of Super Fights at a time where the UFC was barely treading water. Ortiz went on to have classic fights against Ken Shamrock, Chuck Liddell, Vitor Belfort, and Randy Couture. Unlike the first chapter, Ortiz was never able to close the deal in the money fight.
The third chapter of his career saw all flash and very little substance in my opinion, and I like Tito. Ortiz returned in 2006 and has gone 4-6-1 in the last six years. Two of those wins came against an aging Ken Shamrock. However, Ortiz’s contributions outside of the octagon may have been his biggest era during this run as he shattered records with this third fight against Ken Shamrock which aired on Spike TV drawing 5.7 million viewers.
[adinserter block=”1″]It is obvious when looking at the list of Hall of Fame fighters that wins and losses are only a fraction of the criteria to get into the hall. Fighter contributions outside of the octagon are highly considered, maybe even more so than records. Dan Severn, Ken Shamrock, Royce Gracie and Mark Coleman are all fighters who don’t have a lengthy history of success inside the octagon, yet all (although I am still wondering about Coleman) made enormous contributions to the UFC and the sport of MMA outside of the octagon.
For that, I think Tito belongs in the Hall of Fame. Congratulations to the Huntingdon Beach Bad Boy.
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[amazon_link id=”B004X9ZQOY” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]UFC: Bad Blood (Liddell vs. Ortiz) DVD[/amazon_link]