Rumor has it that Tito Ortiz made an appearance at a Shelton, Washington casino to announce that his next fight would be against either Rashad Evans or Wanderlei Silva. I’ll skip over my conjectures as to why Ortiz was even at a casino in Shelton, WA in the first place, let alone making announcements there, and go right to the part where I say that I sincerely hope the UFC does not match him with Silva next.
After their first bout ended in a draw, Ortiz-Evans II makes far more sense than does Ortiz-Silva II (in case you’ve forgotten, they fought back in 2000 in the UFC, with Ortiz winning a decision). If I were the UFC I’d have Silva locked in a padded room until I could put him up against Liddell in December or January. They just shouldn’t take a chance on him before that because who knows how much is left in “The Axe Murderer”?
No matter what you might think of Ortiz’s antics, however, you have to admit that he’s learned the lessons of self-promotion better than anyone. By running his mouth constantly he’s assured that there will always be someone who wants to fight him and there will always be a significant number of people who will pay to see it in the hopes that Ortiz gets his face smashed in.
That’s smart. So many athletes give boring boiler-plate responses in interviews and miss the opportunity to make themselves a commodity the way Ortiz has done. He realizes that being a fighter is as much about entertainment as it is about performance, but at the same time he’s known for running a grueling training camp and turning mediocre fighters into dynamic ones.
Personally, I think Rashad Evans would beat Ortiz in a rematch, but I hope the UFC makes it happen soon anyway. I also hope that, when it’s time, Ortiz gets out of the fight game and puts his obvious talents as a coach and trainer to work.
Imagine the force he could be if he were building fighters in his Big Bear gym and at the same time serving as their incendiary mouthpiece when the cameras start rolling. Hopefully he learned something from watching his nemesis Ken Shamrock soldier on past his prime. But I’m not counting on it.