The well-known phrase “jump the shark” is often used to describe someone or something that has lost its initial appeal—the phrase itself has arguably jumped the shark at this point.
As news filtered in about Tito Ortiz’s fractured neck late last week, I couldn’t help but be reminded of the expression.
MMA is still in its infancy, but it has grown old enough to see many of its former stars cling desperately to whatever relevancy remains.
This list laments those faded stars who continue to chase the spotlight despite the mixture of scorn and apathy that greets their every move.
As always, feel free to include your own suggestions in the comments.
A strange thing happened late last week.
News broke that Tito Ortiz had fractured his neck, yet the reaction of fans and media would have led one to believe that the former “Huntington Beach Bad Boy” had pulled out of Bellator’s ill-fated November 2nd pay-per-view with a broken fingernail.
This startling lack of concern for Ortiz’s health raised a couple of questions:
1. Are we sociopaths?
2. Has Tito Ortiz’s act become so grating that his misfortune can no longer elicit sympathy?
I’m going with door number two, Bob.
His every action now borders on self-parody.
Even while supposedly promoting Bellator’s PPV debut on TSN’s Off The Record, Ortiz spent most of his airtime complaining about the UFC and reminding us of his laundry list of injuries.
Had he thrown in a few trademark mixed metaphors and malapropisms, we’d be hailing him as the next Andy Kaufman.
One never likes to see an athlete get injured, but it may be a blessing in disguise. Hopefully Ortiz takes it as a sign that it’s time to move onto the next chapter in his life.
You are perhaps beginning to sense a theme developing here.
Like many of you, I was once a fan of “Rampage.” In addition to being one of the most exciting fighters on the planet, he also boasted an incredibly charming sense of humour.
For a man who outwardly appeared so intimidating, his light-heartedness outside of the ring was remarkably endearing.
What happened to that guy?
Over the past couple of years, the former UFC light heavyweight champion has devolved into a charmless misanthrope who complains ceaselessly about any perceived slight.
Whether it’s Joe Rogan suggesting he throw more leg kicks, being matched up with wrestlers or the UFC not marketing him correctly, Jackson can’t seem to stop whining long enough to realise that he has alienated the fans who once adored him.
Like Tito Ortiz and Ken Shamrock, he now spends much of his time taking shots at the UFC.
Unlike the aforementioned fighters, Rampage may still have something to offer MMA as an athlete.
The question is whether fans will care about him as an athlete if he persists with his martyr complex.
I can sense that accusations of being a "Zuffa shill" won't be long in coming.
Since his release from the UFC in 2007, Ken Shamrock has seemingly been on a mission to destroy the UFC.
Or at least marginally disrupt its march to world domination.
He has spent most of the past six years complaining about the UFC’s lack of financial transparency, accusing the promotion of lying about PPV numbers to avoid properly compensating its athletes.
While the lack of financial transparency is an issue worth addressing, Shamrock’s disgruntled ex-employee act is counter-productive.
In addition to his time spent trolling the UFC, Shamrock has also been busy making enemies with more obscure promotions like the UCFC.
Every time the ill-monikered “World’s Most Dangerous Man” gets in front of a camera, it seems like he does irreparable harm to his legacy.
Jason “Mayhem” Miller’s journey is in some ways similar to “Rampage” Jackson’s.
He was not only well-regarded within the MMA fanbase, but he was also something of a crossover star.
His reality show Bully Beatdown proved popular with audiences, earning him an army of fans who ordinarily wouldn’t give MMA a second look.
Unfortunately, his bizarre behaviour over the past year has squandered all the good will he had accrued over his career.
Miller’s actions were initially met with concern for his well-being, but each incident has increasingly eroded our empathy and tolerance.
Most recently, “Mayhem” was involved in a scuffle with Uriah Hall, during which he repeatedly aimed racial slurs at the TUF veteran.
We expressed sympathy after the church incident, confusion after “Lucky” Patrick and concern after his arrests for domestic violence.
The latest incident inspires nothing but disdain.
One can only hope that Miller is able to address whatever issues are plaguing him.