Tito Ortiz is one of the longest tenured athletes to ever compete in the UFC starting all the way back in 1997, but after Saturday night have we seen the last of the “Huntington Beach Bad Boy” in the Octagon?
Losing a unanimous decision to former pupil Matt Hamill, Ortiz returned to action after another lengthy layoff due to surgery, and while he didn’t fight poorly, he also didn’t pull the trigger to win.
The loss makes Ortiz’s record 0-4-1 in his last five fights, with his last victory coming back in 2006 over Ken Shamrock. Ortiz’s spirits seemed high following the loss, and he promised he still had a lot of fight left in him.
“No way, not even close to the end of my career,” Ortiz said. “Decision wise that’s in Dana’s hands, but I’ve gone through some surgeries that people don’t come back. I feel great. Besides my face being a little bit sore, I feel fine. I have no more neck problems, no more back problems.”
In the past all of the instances where Ortiz’s UFC career was seemingly coming to a close it was because of the volatile relationship he maintained with UFC president Dana White. Now with fences mended, it appears it’s Ortiz’s fighting ability that may put him on the UFC chopping block.
“I don’t think Tito looked absolutely horrible tonight, but Tito’s lost what four in a row now? I think you can answer that question yourself,” White answered when asked if the promotion planned on keeping Ortiz around.
Later in the night, White appeared on ESPN’s MMA Live and made a similar comment, with overtones that lead many to believe Ortiz may have fought his last fight in the Octagon at least for now.
“Tito has lost four in a row now, and I think we all know what happens when you lose four in a row in the UFC,” White commented.
Ortiz still vowed to come back, and admits he really doesn’t like the taste a loss leaves in his mouth.
“It sucks to lose cause I let down a lot of my fans, and my fans are what means to me. I let down the UFC, I let down Dana,” Ortiz said. “I want to prevail.”
Once the dust settles from UFC 121 the decision about Ortiz will likely be made. With the California fighter also being one of the highest paid athletes on the roster combined with the losses, the UFC may have to make some tough choices regarding one of the legends that helped bring the promotion to where it is today.