Tito OrtizJacob Christopher Ortiz, or more commonly known to his fans by the name of Tito Ortiz, has had a long, intense MMA career. No one can deny that Tito Ortiz has proved that he is a capable fighter and helped the UFC become what it is today. He was a member of the UFC when it first began and helped it, in more ways than one, become a household name.
In 1997, Ortiz participated in his first UFC event. He entered the competition as an amateur and did not receive any pay for his fight in the UFC 13. He ended up winning the match when the referee stopped it at the 31 second mark of the first round. After his performance, he was selected to replace Enson Inoue in the Lightweight final due to an injury. He went up against Guy Mezger and, at first, he dominated the fight. Despite doing well in the beginning, Ortiz was caught in a guillotine choke at the 2 minute mark of the first round and was defeated.
Eventually, Ortiz managed to get a shot at the Middleweight title. He went up against Frank Shamrock and was defeated. Frank Shamrock, however, retired right after his victory over Tito. The Middleweight title was then renamed to the Light Heavyweight title. The UFC chose Ortiz and legendary Pride fighter Wanderlei Silva to fight for the title in the UFC 25 in April, 2000. The fight between the two was intense, but Ortiz came out with the win. After gaining the title, he defended it for a total of five times. He even fought against Ken Shamrock, the leader of Lion’s Den. Shamrock had bitter feelings towards Ortiz ever since the Mezger incident, but was defeated.
After all of his defenses, it came time for rising Light Heavyweight star Chuck Liddell to get his chance at the title. Ortiz even publicly challenged Liddell, but claimed a pact was made and that the two would never fight. He began to take a break from defending his title. Tito also complained about his contract with the UFC and they could never come to an agreement. In response to Tito’s absence, the UFC created an Interim Light Heavyweight Title and fighter Randy Couture ended up claiming this title. This finally brought Tito back into the octagon to fight Couture at the UFC 44. Couture completely dominated Ortiz and even spanked him in the fifth round.
Ortiz’s next match was against Chuck Liddell at UFC 47 and he was defeated. It seemed that his career in the UFC was coming to an end. In an attempt to stay in the game, Ortiz went up against Vitor Belfort at UFC 51 and ended up winning the match. Even though he won, he still had complaints about his contract and there was apparently bad blood between him and Dana White. It did not seem likely that “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” would ever fight in the octagon again.
While Ortiz was away from the UFC, he participated in a few Total Nonstop Action Wrestling events. He was also offered a few deals with promotions, such as PRIDE Fighting Championships, but nothing ever come from them. It was in 2005 when Dana White shocked fans by announcing that Ortiz would appear on season three of The Ultimate Fighter reality series with Ken Shamrock. It was also confirmed that he signed a three fight deal with the UFC.
His first fight back in the octagon was against The Ultimate Fighter season one winner Forest Griffin. He gained a victory by split-decision. At UFC 61, he once again beat Ken Shamrock by gaining another TKO victory. He beat Shamrock once more in the octagon before the two finally went their separate ways. Ortiz did not win one of his three next fights. He was given a draw for grabbing the fence against Rashad Evans and was defeated by Chuck Liddell and Lyoto Machida. After these losses, he took another break from the UFC.
He once again made a return to the UFC when Dana White stated that they had settled their differences. He was scheduled to fight Forest Griffin at UFC 106. Griffin came out strong and ended up defeating Ortiz. He then participated in The Ultimate Fighter season 11 with Chuck Liddell, though he pulled out of the fight with Liddell. The last victory he would receive in the UFC would be against Ryan Bader. His next three fights all ended in defeat. Before his last fight, which was against Forest Griffin, he was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame. He is now retired from his MMA career.
Despite his many crazy antics and his personal issues, Tito Ortiz proved to be a prominent part of the UFC. He will always be in the UFC Hall of Fame and be known for defending his Light Heavyweight Title five times. Though there were a lot of problems between him and the UFC, he still helped the organization become what it is today. He will always be known as “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy”.