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.
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.
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