Tito Ortiz finally retires after dedicating 2 decades of his life, his body, his soul to a merciless and unforgiving sport.
Tito – the Legend
20 years inside the Octagon, “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” finally hung up his MMA gloves for good after submitting a long-time rival in Chael Sonnen, at 42 years of age. Tito Ortiz will long be remembered for his wars against Frank Shamrock, Chuck Liddel and Forrest Griffin. He will live on in MMA memory as the unapologetic T-Shirts with mocking his opponents. The man to go down in history for ‘digging a grave and burying his opponents’ in the octagon.
The Grind is All
That’s all the fun stuff though, what the “The Huntington Beach Boy Boy” was really known for.. was his Ground & Pound. He translated his wrestling pedigree, gifted athleticism and aggressive nature into an art, proving that wrestling with methodical G & P is one way to stay a Light Heavyweight Champion in the UFC, for 3 years. The only other MMA fighter to beat that record is the (debatably unbeaten) p4p Light Heavyweight ex-Champ of the world, Jon Jones.
The hall of famer began his MMA career in 1997, with only four losses in his first 19 bouts which was followed by ‘1’ win in line of consecutive, 9 losses. In a time where the MMA was growing and the UFC was still considered an organization which would eventually fade, Tito Ortiz brought in the numbers, his bad boy attitude and ‘no shits’ given persona made him entertaining to watch as he would create just the right amount of animosity between him and his opponent. The Ken Shamrock vs Tito Ortiz series was solid proof of that.
Tito beat Wanderlei Silva at UFC 25 for the title. Tito was able to successfully defend his title five times in a row. His three year undefeated reign as a champion ended in UFC 44, against another legend of the game, Randy ‘The Natural’ Couture.
Ortiz is one of those athletes who almost single handedly kept the sport alive and carried it on their shoulders, dragging the heavy water in the UFC’s early days. His hard work was followed by his contemporaries who have brought the game where it stands, the fastest growing sport and worth more than $4 billion dollars.
Dana White Vs Tito Ortiz
The Hall of Famer and former UFC heavyweight champion, got into the sport with Dana White as his manager. When Dana became the President of the UFC, a rift grew between the two, to the extend of even setting up a boxing match to settle things, man to man. They would quell the enmity between the two over the years, occasionally taking shots at each other on social media from the either sides when Tito joined the ranks of Bellator.
However after Tito’s retirement, both made peace with each other.
On January 21, the 42-year-old stepped inside the Octagon for the final time and defeated Sonnen by 1st round submission. White came forward and praised his old friend through a congratulatory message.
Ortiz said: “He actually sent my girlfriend (Amber Nichole Miller) a text message because she used to work for the UFC and they always talk back and forth. When I first signed with Bellator, Dana sent me focus mitts with his face on it saying, ‘if this doesn’t motivate you, nothing will.’ I guess it’s that love-hate relationship that we’ve got with each other. I guess thank you Dana for the text saying, ‘that’s the way you should go out, on top,’”
The end of an Era
Tito was one of the sport’s earliest stars. The People’s Champ ultimately became the biggest PPV draw of 2006 for his fights with Liddell, Forrest Griffin, and Ken Shamrock. A godfather in his own right of Ground & Pound, Ortiz will always remain in the hearts and minds of the MMA community.
RDX Sports wishes nothing but the best for the athletes of the World. If MMA was thriving and as lucrative as it is today with the likes of Conor McGregor and Ronda Rousey, Ortiz would’ve sure been at the top of that ladder, ‘burying his opponents in the octagon’ while laughing all the way to the bank.
We bid the ‘People’s Champ’ farewell, who inspired an entire generation of fighters into becoming who they are today.