Dana White: Tito Ortiz Tried to Damage the UFC More Than Anyone

Jeremy BotterContributor IMarch 18, 2017

LAS VEGAS, NV - NOVEMBER 30:  Mixed martial artist Tito Ortiz arrives at the Fighters Only World Mixed Martial Arts Awards 2011 at the Palms Casino Resort November 30, 2011 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)
Ethan Miller/Getty Images

During the Fan Expo the week of UFC 148 in Las Vegas, Tito Ortiz will be inducted in the UFC Hall of Fame. 

Ortiz is a deserving candidate, no matter how you may personally feel about the UFC's version of Cooperstown.

There's no question that induction into the Hall requires a little bit more than a stellar mixed martial arts career. He goes into his UFC 148 bout against Forrest Griffin with a 16-10-1 record. That ledger doesn't place him among the best in the history of the sport, at least not from a fighting perspective. 

But his record also doesn't tell the whole story. When Zuffa first purchased the UFC from Semaphore Entertainment Group, Ortiz was a reliable rock for the new owners. He headlined three of the first four Zuffa pay-per-view events, and his bitter rivalries with Ken Shamrock and Chuck Liddell helped usher the UFC to new heights.

In short, he was a very beneficial asset to Zuffa during a time when they had no one else to rely on.

But UFC president Dana White says Ortiz also did more to hurt the UFC than anyone else on the roster: 

Tito's never been about the company of the UFC. Tito's been about his own brand, Punishment, and Tito Ortiz. I think he's a guy who pound-for-pound—at the time we were hurting—tried to do more damage to [the UFC] than anyone in the history of this company.

White has a point. Ortiz has always been about Ortiz and little else, and there's nothing wrong with that. He's a smart and capable businessman who saw the significance in building his own brand and his own clothing company. Those business smarts enabled him to become a very rich man, but they also placed him on White's bad side for a long period of time.

But I'm not sure Ortiz ever willingly tried to damage the UFC. Then, as he does now, Ortiz was out for himself, trying to create a better life. There's nothing wrong with that.