After a 15-year career, former Light Heavyweight Champion Tito Ortiz retired from UFC on Saturday, July 7 in a disappointing manner.
The fight itself did not dilute Ortiz's final moments in the Octagon; he fought well, knocking down former ex-champion Forrest Griffin twice. But in the end, Ortiz fell on a unanimous decision, 29-28.
Rather, it was a combination of Ortiz's recent fight record and the post-match events which saw Ortiz exit the ring, for the last time, in a disappointing manner.
Having started his career in promising fashion, "the Huntington Beach Bad Boy" held the Light Heavyweight crown for nearly three-and-a-half years at the turn of the century. However, the recent Hall of Fame inductee had won just once in his last eight fights, his last win dating back to 2006.
Three of those eight losses included defeat by TKO, and on a separate occasion, a split-decision loss to Griffin in 2009.
A career that included 27 fights prior to the July 7 bout might have something to do with that record. Nonetheless, Ortiz's efforts—although valiant—were just not good enough on Saturday to win.
Win or lose, though, Ortiz, at the bare minimum, deserved a better send-off than he received. What's more, it wasn't even his actions that tainted his goodbye party.
It was his opponent's.
Griffin Steals Ortiz's Thunder
After the fight, Griffin did his best Forrest Gump impression and ran back into the locker room, showered with boos. UFC president Dana White forced him to return to the ring, but instead of Joe Rogan conducting the post-bout interview, Griffin took it upon himself to question Ortiz.
It was crude, ill-judged and disrespectful; it was even poor in execution. Ortiz, rightfully so, was unhappy with his opponent's actions.
"I was [expletive]," Ortiz said. "I've been in this sport a lot longer. You have to understand, 15 years ago, May 3, 1997, Joe Rogan was the first person to interview me, and I told him, I'm going to make a mark in this sport. It was my first fight. I said, just you wait. I'm going to make my mark in this sport. I helped build this sport to be what it is to this day."
Although Griffin apologized at the press conference he showed up late for, his actions—as they often do—spoke louder than words.
It's unfortunate Ortiz's last bout—and the two prior—ended in a loss, but at least he fought well. It's even more disappointing that his opponent blemished the retirement of one of the sport's original greats.
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