Tito Ortiz vs. Forrest Griffin: Why Both Need to Retire After Their Third Fight

Matthew HemphillCorrespondent IIFebruary 23, 2012

picture courtesy of heavy.com
picture courtesy of heavy.com

Forrest Griffin and Tito Ortiz are two fighters who are so faded that they should only be facing each other. They are still exciting to watch, but as for being competitive in the UFC, their time has passed.

They have put on great scraps before, and according to an article by MMATorch they are headed for a third showdown in mid-2012.

It is the perfect opportunity for both men to find whatever passion they have left for the sport and put it on the line for their third fight. After that they need to walk off into the sunset.

Griffin and Ortiz are fighters that fans remember from another era in MMA. Ortiz was a star back when the sport was just getting out of its "anything goes" days, and Griffin is best known for winning The Ultimate Fighter's inaugural season and winning the UFC light heavyweight title from Quinton "Rampage" Jackson.

Both of the things mentioned are several years old, if not closing in on a decade. Each man is at the end of his competitive rope for very different reasons.

For Ortiz, it is time to exit the sport. He is 37, and while he can upset fighters like Ryan Bader, who he choked out at UFC 142, he is badly faded and prone to injury. He just doesn't have the youth to keep beating back the younger men he faces consistently.

Griffin faces a different obstacle. His problem is that his heart isn't in it anymore. At 32 years old he is burnt out.

In an interview with heavy.com, Griffin stated that he wanted to fight until 33 and then retire. You can't be a fighter and have an exit strategy. Not when the essence of fighting is finding out who the best in the world is.

LAS VEGAS - NOVEMBER 21:  Forrest Griffin celebrates his victory over Tito Ortiz after their Light Heavyweight Fight at the UFC 106 at Mandalay Bay Events Center on November 21, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images)
Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images

Fans can't fault Griffin for wanting to quit or Ortiz for wanting to continue.

In Griffin's case, he has fought in so many grueling battles that it has to have taken a mental toll. One that as he has gotten older and wealthier seems foolish.

Ortiz's affliction is one that is seen more often in fighting. His career is ending, but his life is not even half over. At 37 he is ancient for sports, but in terms of human life he is young. Fighting is all he has done and all he knows. To move on means leaving it and doing something else with less passion and understanding.

It means retiring when most people are just starting to hit their stride. At 37 it is the ultimate mid-life crisis.

Griffin and Ortiz have given immensely to the sport of MMA and both face uncertain futures after their time in the cage. The fight between the two isn't just the end of a trilogy, it's the end of two brilliant careers and the fighters who made them.

There just isn't anything left for them to give after a third match with each other. The only things they could offer fans by continuing to fight is diminished skills and slower reflexes.

They deserve better than that.

That is why whenever they do meet once again, fans should tune in and watch.

Not just to see a great fight, but to say goodbye to two fighters who deserve it.

Matthew Hemphill writes for the MMA and professional wrestling portion of Bleacher Report.  He also hosts a blog elbaexiled.blogspot.com that focuses on books, music, comic books, video games, film and generally anything that could be related to the realms of nerdom.