What is your favorite Tito Ortiz fight and where does he rank among all-time most influential fighters in UFC history?
MIKE HISCOE, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
My favorite Tito Ortiz fight was the first Forrest Griffin fight from UFC 59 in April 2006. It wasn’t my first exposure to UFC, but it was the first pay-per-view I watched live. Tito came across as larger than life in the pre-fight introductions and I was worried Griffin was going to get beaten badly. My worries appeared to be valid in the first round that saw Ortiz pummel Griffin for much of the round, bouncing his head off the mat with vicious ground and pound. But what made the fight great was Griffin’s improbable comeback in the latter two rounds that nearly won him the fight on the judges’ cards and did so to many fans. It was one of the great fights of the early Spike era and it still holds up to this day.
Tito Ortiz should be recognized as one of the very important figures in the development of UFC. He helped bridge the dark, pre-Spike era and the huge growth era in ’05-’06. His first fight with Ken Shamrock was a bright spot in a pretty bleak time for the company and the second and third Shamrock fights set PPV and TV records. He broke the PPV record he set with Shamrock a few months later against Chuck Liddell at UFC 66, UFC’s first million buy show. So yes, Ortiz needs to be considered as one of the most important figures in the growth of the sport.
MATT ECHOCHARD, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Tito Ortiz was such an integral part of the UFC throughout the years, yet I still cannot stand the man. That being said, my favorite fights are his losses to Chuck Liddell. They were good fights and even better outcomes with Ortiz losing by knockout both times in such personal rivalry. He definitely is up there with Liddell and the Gracies, among others, as the most influential people in the sport of MMA.
MICHAEL GROCKE, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Let me start off by sayingb that I’m not a big fan of Tito Ortiz. While most rank him inside the top 10, I have him ranked around 15-18. That being said, there’s no doubt he is one of the most influential figures in MMA history. Between his charisma and ability to promote, he helped build the UFC in the early years.
As far as favorite Ortiz fight? That’s hard because since I’m not a fan I usually pulled for his opponents. The pre-Zuffa fight against Frank Shamrock sticks out only because he won the first three-and-a-half rounds by basically lying on top of Shamrock only to end up losing. I also enjoyed his first fight against Chuck Liddell at UFC 47.
I might be in the minority, but I’m looking forward to his Bellator fight against Chael Sonnen on January 21, 2017.
NOW CHECK OUT THE PREVIOUS ROUNDTABLE: Which current non-contender in any division in UFC & Bellator will rise to a top contender in 2017?