By Ryan Clark | July 07, 2006
Tito Ortiz vs. Ken Shamrock
And it's time to make some money. From a die-hard fans perspective, this fight has no purpose. Beating Shamrock does very little for Ortiz, as he's already done that before in the most dominating fashion possible. Shamrock hasn't done anything to earn the rematch since their last fight, so add that one in. Shamrock is too old and not on par with the rest of today's legit competition to be a championship-contender anymore, so why book this match? To make some money, gets some eyes on your product, and build up whatever is underneath it on the card to the larger than usual audience that should turn out for this PPV. It's funny when die-hard fans always think they know what's best for the sport (like video taping weigh-ins) but s--t all over money-making ideas. If the company makes money, it grows. If it grows, it gets more accepted in the mainstream. These are all things the die-hard fans claimed to want for "their" sport, but as soon as UFC takes the proper steps in making these things happen, they call them sell-outs. They think they're becoming too much like pro wrestling. Whatever you want to call it. What they're doing is becoming too much like a legitimate money-making organization, and that comes first and foremost in any business. This fight right here, this fight will make a ton of money and help the brand name grow in this very pivotal stage in the history of the sport. It's important to have attractions just as much as die-hard fan pleasing matches. Boxing has Mike Tyson, pro wrestling has Hulk Hogan. In boxing, Mike Tyson isn't the best fighter anymore, not by a long shot, but he's still easily the biggest money-maker (well, if he wanted to be). In pro wrestling, Hulk Hogan might not know a wrist-lock from a wrist-watch, but he puts asses in the seats. In MMA, Ken Shamrock and Tito Ortiz - no matter where they stack up in the competitive standings in their weight class, they're among (got to add Chuck Liddell in there now, so they aren't the "only" one's anymore) the biggest draws the company has. Matched against each other, it's the only big money fight the company has left in the near future - and it is indeed a big one.
A few factors to get out of the way. The main being comparing this fight to the last time they fought. What's different this time than last time? Well, this time Tito Ortiz is coming in with some leg injuries and a back problem. Ken Shamrock is reportedly coming in healthy. The last fight Ortiz came in after recovering from ACL surgery, but had plenty of time to repair the injury. Shamrock claimed in the first fight that he fought on one leg, never getting it fixed before the fight due to what he saw as a risk of the fight being cancelled and never put back together again. The last fight was a five round bout for the Light Heavyweight title, but only lasted three rounds due to corner stoppage. This fight is scheduled for three rounds, non-title. Another factor is weight. Ken Shamrock came in the last fight having to make 205 lbs. While he still has to this time, he's not coming down from a fighting weight of Heavyweight. I'm not sure what his walk around weight is, surely 220 lbs. or more, but his last two fights were at or around the weight he'll be fighting this time. Age is against him, as he's 42 now, with Ortiz coming in at the prime fighting age of 31. Since the last fight, Ken Shamrock has beaten Kimo, another UFC legend who hasn't been competitive at the top level in quite a while, and lost to Rich Franklin and a past-his-prime smaller Kazushi Sakurba. Ortiz has faced the best competition of his entire career since the Shamrock fight, battling with Randy Couture, Chuck Liddell, Vitor Belfort, and Forrest Griffin, going the distance in three of the four and winning two of those. So that gets out of the way most of the excuses you might hear after the fight from either side.
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