George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore "Teddy" Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln are four of the most influential men in American history. Apparently, Bellator CEO Bjorn Rebney believes Tito Ortiz and Quinton "Rampage" Jackson are as equally influential in the world of MMA.
Rebney spoke to Fox News Latino about the two men who are headlining Bellator's first foray into pay-per-view.
"On the Mt. Rushmore of Mixed Martial Arts, Tito Ortiz & Quinton ‘Rampage’ Jackson are two of the four heads carved out of stone," Rebney said.
Apparently Rebney has made the jump past hyperspeed and straight to "Ludicrous Speed" for promoting the upcoming pay-per-view. Rebney is basically saying that without Ortiz or Rampage, MMA wouldn't be where it is now.
All jokes aside, the claim is absolutely ridiculous. Yes, Ortiz and Jackson are two of the most well-known figures in the sport, but are far from achieving the type of influence that would merit a place on MMA's Mt. Rushmore.
Ortiz has fought in the Octagon for nearly his entire career (only his third fight was competed outside the UFC) and eventually became the sport's top light heavyweight. Ortiz would defend the UFC Light Heavyweight Title five times before losing it to Randy "The Natural" Couture.
Rampage Jackson, on the other hand, made a name for himself while competing in Japan under the Pride FC promotion. Jackson quickly became a star for his colorful personality as well as his vicious KO power inside the ring. His rivalries with Wanderlei Silva were the stuff of legend.
Although Ortiz seemed like a dominant champion, there were plenty of detractors who believed "The Huntington Beach Bad Boy" was hiding from his former training partner Chuck Liddell. The two men would finally meet at UFC 47 and once more at UFC 66. Liddell won both matchups via TKO.
Many fans will only remember Ortiz as the broken-down fighter he'd become in his later years. His last few years with the UFC were mired with injuries and disappointment as Ortiz managed to go 1-7-1 in his final nine bouts.
Jackson's starpower was at its height when he took out Liddell at UFC 71 in a much-hyped rematch for the light heavyweight title. Rampage would then unify the Pride and UFC 205-pound belts before losing to Forrest Griffin.
After the loss to Griffin, Jackson went on a rampage (pun intended) through the streets in his truck. Although Jackson would avoid any serious penalties, it would become the beginning of the end for "Rampage" and the UFC.
He burned quite a few bridges with Dana White for choosing The A-Team film over fighting Rashad Evans and burned the rest with his attitude towards the UFC after his most recent fights.
Both Jackson and Ortiz were involved in some of the most intense (and talked about) rivalries in MMA. But I don't get how anyone can say they belong on a Mt. Rushmore of MMA.