by Mick Hammond – MMAWeekly.com
In a sign that MMA is further integrating itself into mainstream sports culture, the fight between Tito Ortiz and Chuck Liddell finished fourth on a list of “The 10 Best Beatdowns Ever in Sports” in a recent article by Kevin Hench on FoxSports.com.
Tito’s fight with Chuck Liddell, which took place at UFC 47 in 2004, ranked higher than beatdowns by well-known athletes in the NHL, NBA, MLB, and oddly enough, even an NCAA collegiate mascot.
Hench wrote, “Like many UFC fans, I got my intro to the ‘sport’ via Royce Gracie, Ken Shamrock and Dan ‘The Beast’ Severn. Watching those early fights in the Octagon I learned that a relatively slight ‘grappler’ could make a much bigger ‘striker’ beg for mercy. But in terms of an all-time UFC beatdown, Chuck ‘The Iceman’ Liddell’s destruction of Tito Ortiz may be the best evidence for those who decry the barbarity of the Octagon. Liddell’s pummeling of Ortiz was a cautionary tale for what happens when a superior wrestler squares off with a striker and can’t drag the fight down to the mat. After 38 brutal seconds of relentless strikes from Liddell, Ortiz found himself alone on the mat, victim of a merciless beatdown. The Iceman would later become the first man to knock out Randy ‘The Natural Couture to win the UFC light heavyweight title in 2005, then proved it wasn’t a fluke by knocking him out again in 2006.”
While Ortiz vs. Liddell making the list does show the continued growth of MMA in the mainstream sports culture, Hench’s use of quotation marks around the word “sport” demonstrates that many within the mainstream sports community still have a stigma that they attach to MMA in their minds.
The only three “sports beatdowns” to place higher than the Ortiz vs. Liddell fight were the first boxing match between Diego Corrales and Jose Luis Castillo; a scuffle involving MLB Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan; and topping the list, Mike Tyson’s 91-second destruction of Michael Spinks in 1987.