MMA fans went crazy in 2004 when these two legendary UFC rivals first faced-off in the octagon. They went even crazier when they had their rematch in 2006…
Now, Golden Boy Promotions is promoting Liddell vs. Ortiz 3 as The Trilogy. Technically, yes…it’s the third fight so it’s The Trilogy but those other two fights were a long ass time ago. 12 years to be exact. 12 fighter years. That’s like 80 in human years. So, The Trilogy is misleading to me. In my mind, The Trilogy is synonymous with Grand Finale, which this is definitely not. They should call it The Third Fight That Doesn’t Mean Shit. It’s more accurate…but I get that it’s wordy.
So, why is Oscar De La Hoya and Golden Boy Promotions making this fight happen? Does anyone care? These guys fought twice while in their prime. Liddell knocked Ortiz out in their first matchup and won by TKO stoppage in the second. So, Liddell goes down in history as the better fighter. That’s how fighting has always worked. But now in an era where Viagra helps old men think they’re not old and the Internet helps the ridiculous make more money than the legitimate, the rules have changed.
UFC President Dana White, who also happens to be a close, personal friend of Chuck Liddell, begged him to retire from the UFC in 2010 after tarnishing his legacy and risking his future well-being by taking cringe-worthy beatings in 5 of his last 6 fights. He just wasn’t physically able to compete at the top level anymore and he was too far into his career to suppress his instinct to stand toe-to-toe and bang. That’s a recipe for disaster for a fighter well past his prime and White knew that over 10 years ago.
Now, De La Hoya and company are putting him back in the cage to battle a 43-year-old Tito Ortiz for the third time. A 43-year-old Ortiz who’s still competitive by the way. He beat Chael Sonnen in Bellator 170 in January of last year by rear-naked choke in the first round. Granted, Chael Sonnen isn’t what he once was either, but he’s definitely no walk in the park. Couple that with the fact Liddell hasn’t fought anyone in over a decade and it’s clear to see that the deck is stacked against The Iceman.
So, let’s go back to my initial two questions. Why is this fight happening? Does anyone care? Unfortunately, the answer to the second question also answers the first. Yes, people do care. Enough people to make Golden Boy Promotions a lot of money via PPV and to ensure both Liddell and Ortiz more money than they have ever received for a single fight in their career. That being said, I feel too many people care for the wrong reasons. No one that purchases this fight wants to see Ortiz win. That sucks for him but that’s the fuel that powers this crazy train to Disaster Town. A large majority of old school fans will order this fight because they want nothing more than to relive one more night of Chuck Liddell greatness and there’s no one else they’d rather see take the brunt of that, than The Huntington Beach Bad Boy. THAT’S THE FANTASY! But what’s the reality?
Liddell dies? Not likely, but… Liddell suffers permanent brain damage? Possibly. Liddell loses in embarrassing fashion? Probably. But none of this matters. “The Iceman Cometh” is the bumper sticker of far too many old Chuck Liddell fans; and their belief in his successful return to the sport, despite its lunacy, is unwavering.
Earlier, I blamed Viagra and the Internet for this fight happening and I do believe each plays a role, but mostly I blame Sylvester Stallone. We all loved watching a 60-year-old Rocky Balboa step back in the ring to achieve greatness one last time. Unfortunately, for Chuck Liddell and everyone that loves him, this is real life. And unlike Stallone’s movies, real life doesn’t always have a happy ending.
Sylvester Stallone, if you read this before it’s too late, Chuck needs money. Please cast him in The Expendables 4 so he can cancel this stupid fucking fight and ride out retirement as the badass we remember.