Tito Ortiz (18-12-1) will be fighting his last fight in professional mixed martial arts (MMA) at Bellator 170 this Saturday at the Forum in LA. Ortiz has been associated with MMA long before there was a Conor McGregor, Ronda Rousey, or even a Chael Sonnen. If anyone started trash talking and being a “bad boy” in the sport to elevate their presence, Ortiz can be considered a pioneer for selling fights with that recipe. Win or lose, before his final fight this weekend let's look back at Ortiz’s most memorable moments in MMA.
Chael Sonnen (28-14-1) has talked his way into big fights before, he has the talent and skill as all fighters do but only trash talk can fast track you into the spotlight. Sonnen knows this because Ortiz knows this and Ortiz has brought attention to his fights by talking trash to some of the most well-known names in MMA. Anderson Silva and Jon Jones are some examples for “The American Gangster” who faces Ortiz in Bellator 170's main event.
Ken Shamrock, Chuck Liddell, and even UFC President Dana White have all had their share of public battles with Ortiz that brought attention to MMA. Sonnen himself gives credit to Ortiz for the slow building popularity of the sport and admitted wanting to be where he was before he got into fighting and followed the blueprint laid out by Ortiz.
Speaking of Dana White, their feud was escalated so much that he and White were supposed to settle their differences in a sparring match. White went through the trouble of training for the fight and getting licensed only to have the fight cancelled. There was a special documenting it on Spike TV at the time only to have the fight not happen.
It was not all trash talk and “bad boy” behavior to sell fights for Ortiz, even before people knew what the UFC or MMA was Ortiz always made it a point to try and give back. He mentioned it in the press conference before his last fight Thursday and it is something he always did before fighters saw any real money in MMA. From military charity events to the St. Jude's Children's Hospital , Ortiz did what athletes from traditional sports did for charity before an MMA fighter could afford to do it.
Love him or hate him, there is no denying that the early leaps in the sport of MMA’s popularity can be credited to “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy”.