Blond hair, creatively offensive t-shirts, a trucker’s mouth, and ground-and-pound like nobody’s business. These are a few traits normally associated with former UFC light-heavyweight champion Tito Ortiz.
Fans have gravitated to Ortiz’s fighting, his antics, as well as his epic rivalries. Ortiz is definitely content with being a smack-talking, elbow-dropping, loud mouth that could care less if he is liked or disliked.
Ortiz would not be the first name that you would usually associate with someone that could be a great coach. However, appearances can often be deceiving because Ortiz has been featured as a coach on The Ultimate Fighter reality series twice and has been surprisingly humble and giving.
Is Ortiz one of the greatest actors to ever enter the Octagon? Or is he simply suffering from multiple personality disorder?
Ortiz is the same man who has worn shirts stating that Guy Mezger was “Gay Mezger”, mouthed-off to the legend Ken Shamrock, finished people only to simulate their burial, and officially challenge Dana White to a fight.
When Ortiz first entered as coach for The Ultimate Fighter season three, he immediately connected with the hearing-impaired wrestler-turned-fighter, Matt Hamill. Kendall Grove was also someone that Ortiz brought close to his side.
Hamill was definitely one of Ortiz’s favorites in season three, but his team did not agree with him. Hamill was seen as cocky and an individual seeking personal time with Ortiz with no regard for the team.
Coach Ortiz broke practice to spit some knowledge on his pupils. He stated, “You guys are lucky to have a world-class wrestler like him to put you on your ass every day. It will only make you guys better fighters.” The mood changed almost instantly to create a closer knit team.
Season 11 of The Ultimate Fighter reality series has been short, but eventful. Ortiz has been praised for selecting the stronger team as well as having more intense training sessions. More of the fighters seemed to want to have the “Huntington Beach Bad Boy” train them rather than the “Iceman” for obvious reasons.
Ortiz showed his true heart and giving nature as a coach after the first preliminary fight between Team Liddell’s Kyle Noke and Team Ortiz’s Clayton McKinney.
The fight between the two ended in a first-round tap out with McKinney submitting to a triangle choke. Clayton rushed out of the cage mad and frustrated only to be begged by his coach to come back.
“Clay, please. Give me one minute, please,” begged Ortiz.
Ortiz looked his fighter in the eyes and said, “Learn from this and we’ll never get caught again.”
McKinney had tears in his eyes as his coach pleaded. “All I want is just one minute of your time and you can do anything you want after, please?” said Ortiz with true sincerity in his face.
Team Ortiz’s leader then took McKinney through the triangle defense drill several times to have his fighter better himself after his disappointing loss.
“It’s a mistake that you f**king make, you make mistakes you grow from it,” screamed Ortiz. “We’re still here to work together man.”
These are words that came from a man who really seemed to mean what he said.
Coaches on previous seasons, such as Ken Shamrock and BJ Penn, have shown that they can simply coast through and not care. Ortiz seems to be the opposite character as the blond, middle finger-wielding, teenager trapped in a man’s body.
Time will tell what happens with Ortiz since we already know that Rich Franklin will replace him in his fight against Chuck Liddell. We shall see if the old Tito returns or if the true, genuine, and giving teacher is the Tito Ortiz that we deserve and will appreciate for the rest of his career.