Leading up to UFC 109: Relentless, Dana White, UFC President, answered a question regarding the season-ending coach fight between currently taping season eleven The Ultimate Fighter coaches Chuck Liddell and Tito Ortiz.
“I’m trying to do it in Vancouver,” said White at the time.
In reference to Vancouver, White is talking about UFC 115, which is scheduled to take place at GM Place in Vancouver, British Columbia on June 12, 2010.
This will be the fourth event held in Canada, and the first time an event will be held outside the Province of Montreal.
But neither the place nor the time of the fight really matters.
What does matter is the actual main event itself, which will see Chuck Liddell taking on Tito Ortiz for the third (and hopefully last) time.
You see, it doesn’t really matter where this fight is held, because it’s pretty much inevitable; UFC fans can’t escape this fight. It’s simply going to happen, whether we like it or not, and I'm left asking: Why?
Unless you’re the Fertitta brothers, Dana White or the Abu Dhabi government-owned Flash Entertainment group – who all own stake in Zuffa LLC, the parent entity of the UFC – then I can understand because you’re out for the expected relatively high payday (UFC 66: Liddell Vs. Ortiz II still holds the record for highest live gate revenue in North America and is ranked second in Pay Per View buy rates next to UFC 100).
But if you’re not affiliated in any way with the people listed above, aka: a fan, are you seriously really looking forward to this fight?
Did I miss something? What happened in the first two fights that you’re craving more of the third time?
Did Ortiz’s lopsided decision loss to Forrest Griffin really disappoint you to the point of wanting to seeing him get knocked out again? Did Liddell’s appearance on Dancing With The Stars make you eager to see if he can pull off what he learned inside the octagon?
All jokes aside, let’s have a quick refresher.
In their combined two fights, Liddell and Ortiz have gone a total of three rounds four minutes and 37 seconds. Their first fight was a scheduled three-round tilt that ended with Liddell knocking out Ortiz within 38 seconds of the second round. Their second fight was a scheduled five-round Light Heavyweight Championship bout that lasted 3:59 of round three with Liddell taking out Ortiz once again, this time by technical knockout.
Both fights Liddell won, and both fights Liddell won rather convincingly.
This can’t even be considered a grudge match because Liddell literally won so handily.
Now, one will argue that their last meeting happened in December of 2006 (UFC 66; their rumoured scheduled third fight will be at UFC 115 – 49 UFC events later) and because of this anything can happen.
Well, since Liddell’s last beating of Ortiz, he’s lost four of his last five fights, the only win coming against Wanderli Silva at UFC 79 by way of Unanimous Decision. We saw him lose by way of three knockouts and one decision before and after that win.
Ortiz, on the other hand, hasn’t even been that lucky. He tied Rashad Evans as a result of holding the cage at UFC 73, and has lost his only two fights by decision thereafter.
So when you look at both fighters that way, then yes, anything can happen.
But since facing each other last, Liddell and Ortiz have had a combined ten fights inside the UFC octagon dating back to UFC 66 (five for Liddell; four for Ortiz) and to be honest, it hasn't looked pretty.
In that span they’ve totalled a 2-1-7 record.
Yes, that’s two wins, one tie and seven losses for whoever doesn’t know. Not what you would call impressive by any standards.
A combined record between two fighters like that should have no business fighting in the UFC, never mind as a marketed "marquee" featured main event.
So please remind me why anyone should be excited for this third fight when both Liddell and Ortiz should literally just be coaches on The Ultimate Fighter and not actual fighters anymore.
The truth is that neither of these fighters are relevant in today’s UFC Light Heavyweight division picture. But Dana White and the UFC marketing department will tell us differently. They’ll say this fight is relevant and will be yet another epic battle between two MMA legends. Like we’ve never heard that before.
Legends define who someone was in the past, but not necessarily who they are now in the present. This goes to say that neither Liddell nor Ortiz are in the same shape they once were that turned them into legends. They're far past their primes and are merely shells of their former selves. But the UFC doesn’t care about that as long as there’s money to make for them involved. But the fans have no one to really blame but themselves in the end. As long as fans continue to look forward to and buy mediocrity, then the fans are going to get mediocre cards and more rematches that should never happen.