Love Him or Hate Him, Tito Ortiz Is an Excellent Coach

Sterling SpiarsAnalyst IApril 8, 2010

The former long-standing UFC light heavyweight champion, Tito Ortiz often has been criticized in his 13-year career.

Not for his fighting abilities, but because of the overwhelming sense of bravado that fans have come to expect from the man also known as "The Huntington Beach Bad Boy."

Since the early "caveman" days of the UFC, Ortiz has either gained fans with his supreme confidence or driven them away with his cage-side antics and trash talk—this writer being one of the many driving as far away from his Huntington Beach fan base as possible.

One of the most dominant champions in the early days of the UFC, holding on to his title for three and a half years with five defenses, Ortiz is long gone from being a contender in MMA's most competitive division.

While Ortiz may not be a contender inside the octagon anymore, he still does offer the UFC some very interesting options in its promotional campaign. After all, the man knows how to run his mouth and captivate hardcore and casual fans alike.

Coming off of a split-decision loss to Forrest Griffin, Ortiz was offered a slot as a coach on the newest season of The Ultimate Fighter , opposing his former friend and now longtime nemesis, Chuck Liddell.

On the season's debut, while Liddell was strategizing about the team he was aiming for, Ortiz was actively coaching his predetermined picks on how to win their fights. Plus, after each bout, Ortiz was praising most of the fighters for their heart and determination.

Moving on to the second episode: During team selections, Ortiz was able to select many of the prospects that he was shooting for.

Meanwhile, the often strategic Liddell had many fans and even UFC President Dana White scratching their heads alike with his picks.

Liddell was able to pick the first fight of the season as Ortiz had the first fighter pick. The strategy of "The Iceman" showed up as he used his top pick in Kyle Noke to fight a somewhat injured and mentally-unready Clayton McKinney.

During the entire fight, the recognizable and highly audible voice of Ortiz rang through the rafters with advice.

Meanwhile, Liddell, who has been labeled "Mumbles" by quite a few of this author's friends, was very quiet in his coaching as usual.

Noke went on to win the fight by triangle choke in the first round, sending McKinney into a swirling realm of conflicted emotions.

Understandably so, McKinney wanted to be off in his own world after his loss, but Ortiz wouldn't have it. Instead, he called back his fighter in a demanding, yet respectful tone to show him what he did wrong.

After showing McKinney the flaw in his triangle defense, Ortiz rallied his team (which he dubbed Team Punishment after his own personal training camp) together in support of his fighter, then he gave him the freedom that he desired.

That's what a great coach will do. They will support their team whether in victory or defeat. They will point out flaws in that same way. They will push their team when they need to be pushed, and give space when needed.

As this season goes on, Ortiz's coaching ability will continue to shine, despite his often brash behavior. Love him or hate him, fans at least have to respect Ortiz's coaching ability.