80°F
weather icon Clear

Loss should close book on Ortiz’s UFC career

Somewhere today, Gary Shaw would be smart to erase a few zeros on that offer sheet.

It’s a good thing Tito Ortiz has his autobiography coming out — “It will be at Barnes & Noble, so check it out,” Ortiz shamelessly plugged to an adoring UFC 84 crowd Saturday night shortly after being predictably handled by Lyoto Machida — and his legacy and his clothing line and the whole Jenna Jameson angle going. (Not that there is anything wrong with that).

He just wouldn’t want to dive into the free-agent market on skill alone. It would be a pretty shallow pool right now.

Could this possibly have gone better for the Ultimate Fighting Championship and Dana White? Only if it had ended sooner inside the MGM Grand Garden, which actually would have been better for everyone sleeping through three rounds.

If this was indeed Ortiz’s final fight for the company that he helped grow into the biggest and best in mixed martial arts history, the unanimous-decision defeat for the light heavyweight progressed exactly how you imagine White hoped and expected.

Months of often entertaining and sometimes monotonous trash talk between UFC president and the aging legend overshadowed a significant point: Machida is now 13-0 for a reason, and while his uninteresting style makes Floyd Mayweather Jr. seem like an undisciplined brawler, it was the perfect counter to Ortiz, who when at his best years ago could effortlessly shoot at legs with power and take opponents down.

The only thing Ortiz took down Saturday was air, although he almost tackled the cage a few times. It was like watching Chris Byrd attempt to box last week, a once great champion having succumbed to diminished skill.

It was sad.

Ortiz had a fleeting chance late when he got Machida into a triangle choke (I am told this has nothing to do with the percussion family), but the better fighter escaped.

Machida said he would have died before tapping out, and such passing would have been solely from embarrassment given how easily he controlled the deliberate pace.

“I’m going to fight for three or four more years,” Ortiz amazingly proclaimed. “I’m leaving for greener pastures.”

How much of it will be in the form of cash is unknown. Someone will sign him. Ortiz is still marketable. Fans love him. They will pay to watch him. He wouldn’t be a terrible free-agent signing. He’s not the Mike Hampton of MMA.

But whether it’s Shaw and EliteXC or another company that makes a deal, Saturday’s loss took from Ortiz much of that magic word when it comes to negotiating: Leverage.

“Tito Ortiz is going to be around, no matter what,” the fighter told a soldout arena. “Make sure you buy the pay per view.”

I tried to laugh at that point but was distracted by a blinding light. I’m pretty sure it was Dana White’s smile.

* This just in: When a guy lying on the canvas is twitching from his head and shaking at his feet, it’s not a good thing.

Money came in late on light heavyweight Keith Jardine, but all those tickets were being shredded in 36 seconds, which is how long it took Wanderlei Silva to knock Jardine out in a frightening manner.

There are bad positions to be in when it comes to MMA, but I’m guessing that having your opponent hold your chin in place with one hand and beat your head in with the other ranks among the worst.

Once he regains all his faculties (put the over-under at Wednesday), Jardine might want consider plastic surgery. Maybe some granite in the ol’ chin region, given he has now balanced a win against Chuck Liddell with quick knockout losses to Silva and Houston Alexander last May.

The latter came in 48 seconds against a guy better known at the time for his talents as a radio disc jockey than as a fighter.

* I didn’t have a favorite UFC fighter before now. That changed with B.J. Penn.

Not only for his ability, although the way he took apart steroids-free (we think) Sean Sherk in a lightweight championship bout was impressive. No, my allegiance stems from the fact it’s difficult not to support a guy with that powerful a kick and this much of an environmentalist conscience:

“Thanks to all the fans who came out,” said Penn after his knockout of Sherk at the end of the third round. “I know the price of gas, so thanks for coming out.”

Yep, times are tough. You have to figure a gallon of petrol now costs far more than those UFC undercard fighters made Saturday.

Ed Graney’s column is published Sunday, Wednesday, Thursday and Saturday. He can be reached at 383-4618 or egraney@reviewjournal.com

Don't miss the big stories. Like us on Facebook.
Covering The Cage Videos
Dana White signs four fighters to the UFC - Video
Four fighters were put under contract with the UFC following their performances at Dana White's Contender Series on Tuesday night at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas.
Contender Series fighters react to being signed to the UFC
After making history as the first batch of winners to all earn contracts following their performances at Dana White's Contender Series, the fighters react to making it to the UFC.
Dana White signs all five winners at Contender Series
For the first time in the three-season history of Dana White's Contender Series, every winning fighter earned a UFC contract. Maki Pitolo, Joe Solecki, Antonio Trocoli, Hunter Azure and Jonathan Pearce impressed the UFC brass and were awarded contracts by the UFC president.
Jones says he was confident he secured a win over Santos at UFC 239 - Video
UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones continued his reign by taking a split decision victory over Thiago Santos at UFC 239. He discusses the close call and entertains the idea of a trilogy bout with Daniel Cormier. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UFC 239 recap: Jones and Nunes retain their titles - VIDEO
Jon Jones and Amanda Nunes both retained their titles at UFC 239. Jones took a decision over Thiago Santos in the main event and Nunes scored a first-round knockout of Holly Holm. Jorge Masvidal also made promotional history on July 6 by scoring a 5-second knockout over Ben Askren. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Amanda Nunes on her win over Holly Holm at UFC 239 - Video
Amanda Nunes talks about continuing her reign as a two-division champion in the UFC after defeating Holly Holm with a head kick in the first round of their title bout at UFC 239. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UFC 239: Masvidal makes UFC history with 5-second knockout - Video
Jorge Masvidal discusses his history-making knockout of Ben Askren at UFC 239 and makes his case for a shot at the welterweight title next. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Fighters at UFC 239 react to the 7.1 earthquake - Video
Fighters at UFC 239 talk about what they experienced when the 7.1 earthquake was felt in Las Vegas on Friday night. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UFC 239 Ceremonial Weigh-in Staredowns - Video
All fighters competing at UFC 239 on July 6 at the T-Mobile Arena faced off against each other one last time before their bouts take place. In the main event, Jon Jones will put his light heavyweight belt on the line against Thiago Santos. In the co-main event, Amanda Nunes will look to continue her reign as the women's bantamweight champion when she takes on Holly Holm.
UFC 239: Jon Jones says he wants to make a statement - VIDEO
Prior to UFC 239, UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones says he's trying to challenge himself, set his own records to establish his legacy and explains how he's become comfortable with where he is in his career. He will put his title on the line in the main event against Thiago Santos. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UFC 239 Official Weigh-in Results
All 24 fighters competing at UFC 239 on July 6 at the T-Mobile Arena made weight at the official weigh-in at the New York-New York hotel-casino on Friday. The main event features UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones putting his belt on the line against Thiago Santos. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UFC 239 Preview: Jones vs. Santos
Prior to UFC 239, the Review-Journal's Adam Hill and Heidi Fang break down the main event between Jon Jones and Thiago Santos for the light heavyweight title, the co-main championship tilt between Holly Holm and reigning bantamweight queen Amanda Nunes, and preview a feature bout between Ben Askren and Jorge Masvidal. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UFC 239 media day: Masvidal says he has faced tougher competition than Askren
Ahead of facing rising UFC welterweight Ben Askren, promotional veteran Jorge Masvidal says he's faced tougher opponents in the past. Askren says don't be shocked by his approach to the fight at UFC 239 on July 6 at the T-Mobile Arena. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UFC 239 open workouts: Jones thanks fans for support through his dark times
At UFC 239 open workouts, light heavyweight champion Jon Jones thanked fans for their support during his "controversial moments" and says he wants to be more active through 2020. His challenger Thiago Santos says he will "shock the world" on July 6 and be the new division champion. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UFC 239 open workouts: Holm wants to shock her naysayers
Holly Holm will look to reclaim the UFC women's bantamweight title when she faces two-division champion Amanda Nunes in the co-main event of UFC 239 at the T-Mobile Arena on July 6. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
White: I'm looking for different things on this show - VIDEO
UFC president Dana White spoke with media following the second episode of the third season of his show "Dana White's Contender Series". He explained why he signed the two fighters he did after their performances and discussed the heat he's taking for not signing Brendan Loughnane last week. (Heidi Fang / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UFC's Francis Ngannou says he never doubted himself after losses - Video
UFC heavyweight Francis Ngannou will face Junior dos Santos at UFC on ESPN 3 in Minneapolis, Minn., on June 29 in a bout that could determine the next title contender. After losing in a title bout to Stipe Miocic in 2018, Ngannou says he never doubted himself. He also talks about meeting former NBA star Shaquille O'Neal. (Heidi Fang/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Dana White on Contender Series contracts: "I'm looking for killers." - Video
On opening night at the UFC's newest facility, the UFC Apex, the promotion signed Punahele Soriano and Yorgan De Castro to contracts after their performances on Dana White's Contender Series. UFC president Dana White explains why he signed the fighters he did. (Heidi Fang / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UFC Apex is the promotion's newest cutting-edge facility - VIDEO
The UFC Apex will officially open as Dana White's Tuesday Night Contender Series kicks off on June 19. Here's a look at what the promotion's newest facility in Las Vegas has to offer. (Heidi Fang / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UFC President Dana White on the UFC Apex, ESPN deal, when Conor McGregor could return and more - Video
UFC President Dana White gave the Review-Journal an exclusive interview where he spoke about the promotion's new facility, the UFC Apex, their new deal with ESPN, when Conor McGregor may return to the octagon and more. (Heidi Fang / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Shevchenko says defending the UFC flyweight belt is her number one challenge - Video
UFC women's flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko claimed the vacant title when she defeated Joanna Jedrzejczyk at UFC 231 last December. She will put the belt on the line for the first time in Chicago, Ill., when she faces Jessica Eye at UFC 238 on June 8. (Heidi Fang / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
UFC title contender Jessica Eye says her move to Las Vegas gives her an edge - Video
Ohio native Jessica Eye says she moved to Las Vegas to get an edge in performance ahead of facing UFC women's flyweight champion Valentina Shevchenko at UFC 238 in Chicago, Ill., on June 8. (Heidi Fang / Las Vegas Review-Journal)
THE LATEST
‘Helmetgate’ is sort of drama Raiders get with Antonio Brown

How can a guy like the Pro Bowl wide receiver, who works so hard on his craft — more committed and diligent and driven than anyone, says head coach Jon Gruden and quarterback Derek Carr — also be so contentious about something like which helmet he wears?

Don Banks, giant of NFL writers, gone too soon

Banks died in his sleep early Sunday morning at the age of 57, alone in a hotel room in Canton, Ohio, having attended the Pro Football Hall of Fame ceremonies and earlier filing his first story for the Review-Journal.

 
Raiders hoping Trent Brown lives up to massive paycheck

A Super Bowl champion with the Patriots last season and then made the highest paid offensive lineman in NFL history by the Raiders, Brown at right tackle will be among those protecting quarterback Derek Carr.