How Long Will Ortiz Be Out With Injury?

April 17, 2006

Tito Ortiz

Tito Ortiz

Tito Ortiz: Officially Back But How Long Will His Injury Sideline Him?

After the first round of the fight between Tito Ortiz and Forrest Griffin, it seemed like the old Huntington Beach Bad Boy was back. His takedowns were quick and forceful. His ground and pound attack was absolutely unrelenting. He made a good fighter look very bad. And then something seemed to go wrong as the second round began.

As Tito came out from his corner and took to the center of the octagon, he stepped lightly on his left knee, and after his first takedown was stopped by Griffin, it looked as if the former light heavyweight champion was losing steam. In reality, Ortiz was favoring a knee that had partial tears in both the ACL (anterior cruciate ligament) and his MCL (medial collateral ligament).

The ACL, which is commonly injured in many contact sports, results from a sudden twisting or hyperextension of the knee, while the MCL, which is a ligament that lies on the inner side of the knee outside the knee joint, primarily gets damaged when hit with some sort of outside blow to the knee, such as a takedown or tackle in football. While extremely painful the MCL can be injured and the other surrounding ligaments can absorb the pressure, but with the ACL being injured as well, Ortiz probably had trouble standing, much less competing in a mixed martial arts fight.

Ortiz wore a knee brace throughout the fight and was favoring the knee during each of the following rounds. Luckily, he was able to endure using good striking defense and landed a good takedown in the third round that may have been the difference that got him the decision win over Forrest Griffin.

Now what the UFC is left with is yet another injured superstar that could be on the shelf for an undisclosed amount of time. Ortiz said in his post fight interview that he wasn’t sure if the knee would demand immediate surgery but generally with two such tears in the knee, some sort of work would be needed to prevent further harm to the ligaments. If the knee surgery is minor, such as arthroscopic knee surgery to repair the ACL, an athlete’s turnaround time could run between 4-6 weeks but could run as long as 12 weeks, just depending on how well the knee reacts to the surgery and then normal activity could resume with rehabilitation.

The UFC was depending on a July pay-per-view match-up with Ken Shamrock to headline the show and follow up to the Ultimate Fighter 3 season finale. The last fight between the two gave the UFC their biggest pay-per-view numbers at the time, and a rematch, regardless of either fighter’s ranking, is sure to be a big draw to the hardcore and casual fans of the sport.

Now with the possibility of Tito Ortiz, Chuck Liddell, and Rich Franklin all out with injuries for the time being, the UFC will be in dire need of some superstar match-ups to keep the fans interested because it may be a while before a light heavyweight or middleweight title fight, and with Tito Ortiz, they lose possibly the single most marketable fighter outside of the champions that they had…and they just re-signed him.

Hopefully, after a doctor examines the knee, Ortiz will be able to return at full strength sooner rather than later and the July fight with Shamrock will come off without a hitch. And if the Tito Ortiz that fought in the first round against Forrest Griffin shows up, Ken Shamrock may be in for a very bad night.
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