Tito Ortiz Missed The Evolution Train

Trent WilliamsContributor INovember 25, 2009

LAS VEGAS - NOVEMBER 21: Tito Ortiz (L) battles Forrest Griffin (R) during their Light Heavyweight Fight at the UFC 106 at Mandalay Bay Events Center on November 21, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images)
Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images

Very few athletes, in very few sports have the longevity to make a career last into their late 30s and some into their 40s.

In MMA you have someone like Randy Couture, and heck, throw Mark Coleman's name in there since he won his last fight. Look at Brett Favre in the NFL, potentially an MVP this season, Chris Chelios in hockey, and many others have done it over the years.

But, this is not about those people, because Tito Ortiz will not be one of them.

Coming off his thin decision loss to Forrest Griffin at UFC 106, it's clear that unless you are that "special" type of athlete that finds a way to be successful no matter what, you'll need to have a learning curve at some point of your career. For some, that works and for Tito Ortiz, it's apparent that he's an old dawg, and he isn't about to learn some new tricks.

Before the complete Tito bashing begins, he did do one thing well.

On occasion, he took down Griffin and landed some nice elbows and some punches from his guard. He passed Griffin's guard but one time, and that was only during a scramble, other than that, no attempt to gain a better position. In the first time these two fought, we saw Ortiz do the exact same thing, you had to figure Griffin was expecting it.

It seems that this is all Tito now knows. Sure, it will punish some people, but being a one trick pony doesn't fly these days in MMA.

When he got Griffin in a vulnerable position on the ground, Forrest just got back up, or reversed it to give himself the advantage on the ground.

Standing up, it wasn't even a contest.  Though Forrest throws long, slow punches, still they connected on Tito, who, even though he worked with Freddie Roach on his boxing, had no movement to evade and had no counter to being hit by any kick or punch.

I was nervous as to who was going to claim victory, but I fully agree with the Griffin decision, I had it 29-28 Forrest. 

What really drove the nail home after the fight, though, was the comments from Ortiz.

All we heard from him in the lead up to this fight was how he was in the best shape of his life, he was going to dominate, there was no stopping him, he had a new back and was ready to challenge for the title. Talk about smoke in mirrors when Ortiz goes to the injury excuse again saying he had two slipped discs in his back, and yes...a cracked skull.

For this once Ortiz fan, that was the final straw. Call it what you will, ring rust, injuries, or just being outperformed, but it's apparent Tito will be nothing more then a gatekeeper in the UFC's 205lb division.