Opinion: Was Tito Ortiz Comeback Doomed From The Beginning?
By Jesse Heitz
Yesterday, news broke that Tito “The Huntington Beach Bad Boy” Ortiz was forced to withdraw from his scheduled and highly publicized bout with Quinton “Rampage” Jackson at Bellator’s November 2nd Pay-Per-View event. It seems as if it’s another dark day not only for Ortiz, but for his employer as well.
A Bleacher Report article quoted MMA reporter Ariel Helwani stating the following on Ortiz’s injury,
“Bellator is currently seeking a replacement for Ortiz, and it is unclear at this time whether Jackson will remain on the Nov. 2 card. There is a chance next weekend’s pay-per-view card turns into a free Spike TV card with Jackson being moved to another event.”
Ortiz himself took to Twitter, sharing a few words via Instagram before adding his own thoughts, in a restrained and ostensibly disappointed manor, stating,
“I know everything happens for a reason, but sometimes I wish I knew what that reason was.”
“Sometimes I wonder why?”
The injury bug is a difficult beast to understand and is often wholly unpredictable. Yet, we need to face facts here. Ortiz, who had been planning on coming out of retirement to battle “Rampage” Jackson, is pushing forty and has had a string of very significant injuries over that last few years. The proverbial jig was up when he had his veritably disastrous final run with the UFC. His broken body could no longer keep up with the youngsters that comprise the top levels of competition in today’s MMA world.
Ortiz is certainly a legend of the sport, a deserving hall of famer. He’s a man who helped to carry the global leader in MMA during its darkest hours with one of the most captivating personas the sport has ever seen, not to mention some of the sport’s most effective and vicious ground-and-pound ever showcased within the Octagon. Yet, he’s physically at the end of the line, and this newest injury proves it.
Ortiz was never destined to win big during his comeback, maybe rattle off a few wins so a respectable ride into the sunset was a real possibility, but we as fans didn’t really expect anything more from him. So, while his injury and possible permanent retirement is more than unfortunate, we’re left wondering about the promotion that has already invested a great deal in him.
As it stands, the planned Pay-Per-View card that was supposed to feature Ortiz vs. Jackson will now be switched over to a free television broadcast. Yet, the question remains as to whether Bellator made a critical mistake in hitching their wagon to a physically weathered legend and then spending what must have been considerable money to promote him. I suppose we’ll know in roughly one month’s time. Either way, this is a terrible situation for both Ortiz and Bellator.