I'll admit I feel duped.
For years I ranted about how overrated and irrelevant Tito Ortiz was. However, I recently bought into his explanation about being "back" now that his back was fixed. I even went so far as to write an article reassessing my thoughts and feelings on Ortiz.
Sometimes, I wish I had a time machine so I can take that article back.
Ortiz has been officially tapped to coach opposite UFC hall-of-famer Chuck Liddell for the 11th season of The Ultimate Fighter. By making Ortiz and Liddell coaches, the UFC utilizes two recognizable stars while keeping their champions and top contenders free to fight on pay-per-view cards.
Coaching TUF is a great opportunity for Liddell, who has been all but officially retired from the UFC. It gets him back in the gym and back on camera sans drunken antics outside of a night club.
However, coaching TUF is a no-win scenario for Ortiz and will likely negatively impact his return to the UFC.
Ortiz didn't sustain major damage in his UFC 106 fight against Forrest Griffin, but he very obviously suffered from ring rust and a lack of conditioning as he offered a total of eight seconds of offense in the third round of the fight. Ortiz was visibly winded, his strikes were telegraphed and slow, and he had zero head movement (so much for being coached by Freddie Roach).
The best way to knock off the rest of the ring rust would be for Ortiz to get right back in the octagon and right back into a training camp.
Unfortunately, filming TUF for a month and then laying off for an additional six months while the show is edited and broadcast equates to an excessive layoff that can only hurt Ortiz.
In addition, Ortiz has already faced and lost to Liddell twice. Their first fight ended in a KO in the second round. Their second fight ended by TKO in the third round. While I wouldn't say Liddell has Ortiz's number, a third loss, to a very deteriorated Liddell would all but end Ortiz's viability in the light heavyweight division.
Dana White has gone on record as saying that he prays this will be Liddell's last fight, but it could very well be Ortiz's finale as well.